Eclipses, Interference, Sound, and Sound Science.

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Velifer
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Eclipses, Interference, Sound, and Sound Science.

Postby Velifer » Tue May 27, 2008 7:15 pm UTC

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7347180.stm

I don't know enough about the specifics, but I find this an interesting concept. Could temperature changes in the atmosphere from shading during an eclipse be responsible for pressure waves like this? It seems like you'd not get much actual vibration, just a single huge compression like a very simple weather system.
"The [accepted] theory works, there's no need to seek an alternative," said Professor Jones.

Is that good science? Occam's razor and all, but still, creating a model that works is one thing, finding out how and why something really works, even if it's complicated, seems more like finding truth, and more like good science to me.

Saying "things fall down" is a very good model of gravity that will work in every context I will ever find myself in. It's a good model in an elementary sense, but stopping there, as Professor Jones is advocating in the quote, does not seem very inquisitive.

Your thoughts? What of the sound hypothesis? Is this an example of free-energy kookiness, or something quite literally earth shaking? And the response--healthy skepticism, ivory tower protectionism, bad journalism, a lack of inquisitiveness?
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Mettra
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Re: Eclipses, Interference, Sound, and Sound Science.

Postby Mettra » Tue May 27, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

I've never had anything to do with atmospheric studies, so I can't help you with the technical feasibility of the rather generic proposal in the article.

However, just from reading the above article, it sounds like a strong case hasn't been made for the infrasound theory. It sounds like someone has cooked up the concept but not the math. I think you are misinterpreting Professor Jones and making the assumption that the phenomenon cannot be explained by the current theory. No one in their right mind would say 'the accepted theory works' if they are talking specifically about a case where it doesn't work.

There is probably a lot more than meets the eye here. There is a serious lack of information about the actual theory and how it's been developed, where it agrees and disagrees with the accepted theory and so on. Normally if a new theory disagrees with bits of an accepted theory, there is harsh criticism of it (and rightly so). This is the only way to keep out stuff that just isn't right. However, if the new theory is an addition on top of the old theory, there is also the 'danger' that it's making a complicated interaction out of a simple interaction. The biggest thing I missed in the article was whether the new theory had any testable predictions (especially ones that fall outside the realm of the current theory).

Your gravity theory analogy is a poor example since the theory you suggested involves no mathematical system and offers no real predictive power. I understand your point, though, that if a theory can be extended there's no reason not to try.
zenten wrote:Maybe I can find a colouring book to explain it to you or something.

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Turambar
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Re: Eclipses, Interference, Sound, and Sound Science.

Postby Turambar » Tue May 27, 2008 8:17 pm UTC

Velifer wrote:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7347180.stm

I don't know enough about the specifics, but I find this an interesting concept. Could temperature changes in the atmosphere from shading during an eclipse be responsible for pressure waves like this? It seems like you'd not get much actual vibration, just a single huge compression like a very simple weather system.
"The [accepted] theory works, there's no need to seek an alternative," said Professor Jones.

Is that good science? Occam's razor and all, but still, creating a model that works is one thing, finding out how and why something really works, even if it's complicated, seems more like finding truth, and more like good science to me.

Saying "things fall down" is a very good model of gravity that will work in every context I will ever find myself in. It's a good model in an elementary sense, but stopping there, as Professor Jones is advocating in the quote, does not seem very inquisitive.

Your thoughts? What of the sound hypothesis? Is this an example of free-energy kookiness, or something quite literally earth shaking? And the response--healthy skepticism, ivory tower protectionism, bad journalism, a lack of inquisitiveness?

To me, the fact that the shadow bands move at only a few meters per second seems like pretty good indication that they aren't caused by ~400 m/s sonic waves. But it makes sense that there would be significant temperature drops during an eclipse, and it's not too hard to imagine that a large enough patch of significantly cooler air could bend light away.

I thought that article was very very bad at explaining the science of this phenomenon.
The theory currently favoured by many astronomers is that the bands result from illumination of the atmosphere by the thin solar crescent a minute or so before and after the eclipse totality.

This means that the light from a distant point can reach a particular place on the ground by a variety of paths, each one is bent in a different way as it passes through the atmosphere.

Thus in some places, the light waves reinforce and the light level is enhanced, whilst in others the waves tend to cancel each other out and the light level is reduced.

This is a meaningless explanation. What the hell causes the refraction? Is it the Moon, or is it temperature/pressure differences in the atmosphere, or what? The article doesn't even tell us clearly what the current theory is. I can't really judge Prof Jones until I actually understand what the current and proposed theories are.
"Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it."
--Richard Feynman


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