1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

B What would a supernova sound like?

  1. May 11, 2016 #1
    I obviously realize that sound requires a medium to go through. However, suppose that there was a supernova and it was magically surrounded by an atmosphere that has the same composition and density as earth's atmosphere. Now, if you were far enough away so you didn't get wiped out, then what would it sound like? Would it sound like a regular explosion or something completely novel. Also, how would the sound change if the supernova formed a black hole? Thanks for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2016 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not sure the sound wave could actually propagate through a few dozen light years of atmosphere without losing all of its energy. You might not hear a thing.
  4. May 12, 2016 #3
    "Not with a bang but a whimper"
  5. May 13, 2016 #4
    Supernovae create supersonic shockwaves through the interstellar medium. These move much faster than the speed of sound, so they would hit you as a sonic boom on steroids.
  6. May 14, 2016 #5
    Not exactly the same but NASA converted the electromagnetic fields of the planets into sound and it's pretty amazing () I'd imagine you could do a similar sort of thing with a supernova.
  7. May 14, 2016 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    You don't need to do the same thing in supernovae. Supernovae are already large explosions that emit plent of pressure waves that are, by definition, sound. The only really question is how loud it would be given the low base pressures involved and where the observer is located.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted