Can you hear Sound in Space?

1,439 Views Updated: 08 Mar 2018
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Can you hear Sound in Space?

Do you hear sounds in space or is it an unbroken silence which never ends? Well, the shortest answer to this question would be ‘No,' but then again, we have grown up watching movies like 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' that have deviated us a little too far from the reality.

So, here we are again explaining you the science behind sound and why is there no sound in space.

The Physics

Sound travels through the particles in the air like a wave. For instance, when we speak, our vocal cords vibrate, and this vibration compresses the air. This compressed air then again moves the air close to it, and the sound is carried ahead in the form of waves. At some point, these air compressions fall upon the ears of another person who then understands the message being conveyed by the speaker.

So, in the absence of a medium, meaning in a vacuum where there is nothing to compress, sound waves fail to transmit from one point to another. Sound waves are capable of traveling through solid, liquids and gas but not in the absence of any of these mediums.

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Though sound waves may be able to travel across clouds of gas and dust, the frequency of the sound, in that case, would be too high or too low for us humans to hear. While the noise of frequency between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz (kHz) is considered to be between the human hearing range, sounds between 1 kHz and 4 kHz are what we are most sensitive to.

Here’s Something More You Should Know

When the compressions are of high frequency, meaning they are moving fast, what the listener would hear is a whistle or shriek-like sound, and if the sound is of low frequency, or moving slowly through the air, it is interpreted by the brain as a boom or a faint voice.

As a sound wave travels through the air, the pressure at any given spot oscillates up and down just like the water in a pond gets shallower and deeper when a stone is dropped into it. The frequency of the sound is the time between these oscillations and is measured in Hertz, where the sound of one-hertz frequency means that there is one oscillation per second. The wavelength of the sound is the distance between two peaks when the pressure is the highest.

To travel through a medium, a sound needs greater wavelength than the average distance between the particles. This is referred to as the ‘mean free path,' the average distance that one particle can travel after coming in contact with one particle and before coming in contact with the next. Therefore, sounds with shorter wavelengths can also travel in dense mediums and vice versa.

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We hope that was all you wanted to know. If we have left any doubts about sound in space and more, do not hesitate from writing to us through comments below.

(Image Courtesy: Big Think)

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Posted by: Jayceon Posts: (5) Opinions: (6) Points: 560 Rank: 234
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Opinion
No

For all of us who have studied Science in high school, know that sounds needs a medium to travel. sound waves cause vibrations in particles and are eventually transmitted due to those vibrations. Space for all we know is a vacuum, so it is virtually impossible for sound waves to propagate there.

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