Everything has a frequency

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 Electromagnetic Spectrum

Very Low Frequency (VLF)

Very Low Frequency (VLF)

(3kHz - 30kHz)

Dynamic Spectrograph of a VLF "Whistler".

Low Frequency (LF)

Low Frequency (LF)

(30kHz - 300kHz)

STEREO/WAVES (SWAVES) uses radio imaging to study coronal mass ejections.

Medium Frequency (MF)

Medium Frequency (MF)

(300kHz - 3000kHz)

Non-Directional Beacons utilize Medium Frequency radio frequencies to deliver directional information to aircraft. NASA and the FAA are working together to improve non-directional beacon technology.

High Frequency (HF)

High Frequency (HF)

(3MHz - 30MHz)

Also called “short wave” and used for long distance communications; NASA uses HF at test ranges.

Very High Frequency (VHF)

Very High Frequency (VHF)

(30MHz - 300MHz)

NASA utilizes the VHF band by airborne sensors to study the thickness of sea ice.

Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

(300MHz - 3000MHz)

NASA astronauts use UHF systems as backups for their voice communication systems.

NASA also used these frequencies to remotely sense the Earth’s surface (e.g. soil moisture with the SMAP mission) and atmosphere.

Super High Frequency (SHF)

Super High Frequency (SHF)

(3GHz - 30GHz)

Numerous NASA and NOAA missions use these frequencies to probe the Earth’s atmosphere and surface.  The TRMM and GPM missions observe the structure of rain in 3 dimensions.

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)

Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)

S band (2-4 GHz)
Ku-Band (12-18 GHz)
Ka-band (27-40 GHz)

The current configuration consists of nine in-orbit satellites (four first generation, three second generation and two third generation satellites) distributed to provide near continuous information relay service to missions like the International Space Station (ISS).

Extremely High Frequency (EHF)

Extremely High Frequency (EHF)

(30GHz - 300GHz)

Numerous NASA and NOAA missions can use these frequencies to probe the Earth’ surface, although they primarily are used to probe the atmosphere.

Infrared (IR)

Infared (IR)

(.003 - 4 x 10^14 Hz)

The GOES satellites use infrared technology to view and track hurricane paths.

Visible

Visible

(4 - 7.5 x 10^14 Hz)

Terra uses the visible light spectrum to take true color images of the Earth and its features.

Ultraviolet (UV)

Ultraviolet (UV)

(7.5 x 10^14 - 3 x 10^16 Hz)

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is studying the sun- from its core to its outer corona to its outer wind.

X-Ray

X-Ray

(3 x 10^16Hz - Upward)

The GOES satellites use an X-ray imager (SXI) to photograph and study the sun.

Gamma Ray/Cosmic Ray

Gamma Ray/Cosmic Ray

SCaN does not use Gamma Rays or Cosmic Rays to study the universe, but it uses X-Rays to study Gamma Rays and Cosmic Rays.

The electromagnetic spectrum is comprised of all frequencies of electromagnetic radiation that propagate energy and travel through space in the form of waves. Longer wavelengths with lower frequencies make up the radio spectrum. Shorter wavelengths with higher frequencies make up the optical spectrum. The portion of the spectrum that we can see is called the visible spectrum, however, NASA utilizes a number of tools that allow us to communicate and create images utilizing almost every single component of the electromagnetic spectrum in one way or another.

› Radio Spectrum
› Optical Spectrum

› Spectrum Summary

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An artist's conception of the localization of Fast Radio Burst 180916.J0158+65 to its host galaxy.

For more than a decade, astronomers across the globe have wrestled with the perplexities of fast radio bursts — intense, unexplained cosmic flashes of energy, light years away, that pop for mere milliseconds. 

Despite the hundreds of records of these enigmatic sources, researchers have only pinpointed the precise location of four such bursts. 

Now there’s a fifth, detected by a team of international scientists that includes West Virginia University researchers. The finding, which relied on eight telescopes spanning locations from the United Kingdom to China, was published Monday (Jan. 6) in Nature

There are two primary types of fast radio bursts, explained Kshitij Aggarwal, a physics graduate student at WVU and a co-author of the paper: repeaters, which flash multiple times, and non-repeaters, one-off events. This observation marks only the second time scientists have determined the location of a repeating fast radio burst. 

But the localization of this burst is not quite as important as the type of galaxy it was found in, which is similar to our own, said Sarah Burke-Spolaor, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and co-author. 

“Identifying the host galaxy for FRBs is critical to tell us about what kind of environments FRBs live in, and thus what might actually be producing FRBs,” Burke-Spolaor said. “This is a question for which scientists are still grasping at straws.”

Burke-Spolaor and her student, Aggarwal, used the Very Large Array observatory in New Mexico to seek pulsations and a persistent radio glow from this burst. Meanwhile, Kevin Bandura, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, and third WVU co-author of the article, worked on the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment team that initially detected the repeating fast radio burst. 

“What’s very interesting about this particular repeating FRB is that it is in the arm of a Milky Way-like spiral galaxy, and is the closest to Earth thus far localized,” Bandura said. “The unique proximity and repetition of this FRB might allow for observation in other wavelengths and the potential for more detailed study to understand the nature of this type of FRB.”

Using a technique known as Very Long Baseline Interferometry, the team achieved a level of resolution high enough to localize the burst to a region approximately seven light years across – a feat comparable to an individual on Earth being able to distinguish a person on the moon, according to CHIME.

With that level of precision, the researchers could analyze the environment from which the burst emanated through an optical telescope.

What they found has added a new chapter to the mystery surrounding the origins of fast radio bursts. 

This particular burst existed in a radically different environment from previous studies, as the first repeating burst was discovered in a tiny “dwarf” galaxy that contained metals and formed stars, Burke-Spolaor said.

“That encouraged a lot of publications saying that repeating FRBs are likely produced by magnetars (neutron stars with powerful magnetic fields),” she said. “While that is still possible, the fact that this FRB breaks the uniqueness of that previous mold means that we have to consider perhaps multiple origins or a broader range of theories to understand what creates FRBs.”

At half-a-billion light years from Earth, the source of this burst, named “FRB 180916,” is seven times closer than the only other repeating burst to have been localized, and more than 10 times closer than any of the few non-repeating bursts scientists have managed to pinpoint. Researchers are hopeful that this latest observation will enable further studies that unravel the possible explanations behind fast radio bursts, according to CHIME. 

WVU has remained at the research forefront of fast radio bursts since they were first discovered in 2007 by a team right here at the University that included Duncan Lorimer and Maura McLaughlin, physics professors, and then-student David Narkevic. The trio discovered fast radio bursts from scouring archived data from Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope. 

Citation

Title: A repeating fast radio burst source localized to a nearby spiral galaxy 

Link:  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1866-z

-WVU-

js/01/06/2020

CONTACT: Jake Stump
Director, WVU Research Communications
304.293.5507; jake.stump@mail.wvu.edu

Call 1-855-WVU-NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

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   Understanding Frequencies: How to Describe What You're Hearing to Your Sound Tech


Understanding Frequencies: How to Describe What You're Hearing to Your Sound Tech

Recording, Angry Sound Guy, Performing, Honing Your Craft

Dec 17, 2014 09:00 AM

Aaron Staniulis

frequenciesImage via dvdyourmemories.com

A highly relatable tale: You're onstage during soundcheck or in the studio, and you find yourself trying to describe a sound to the engineer in charge of whatever you're working on. It's at that point you find yourself at a loss for words on how to describe that high-pitched, squealy thingy the synth is making, or that flabby, meedley-deedley sound from the guitar. How do you put into words that thing that defies description, or perhaps even defies imitation? This quick guide is your crash course to the world of sounds, and how to refer to them and talk about them.

What is a frequency?

Usually, when we describe sounds in the audio world and talk about where they reside in pitch (low to high), we refer to them in terms of their frequency. Sound is a wave, a movement of air molecules that our brain translates into sound through a surprisingly complicated series of workings within our ears. These waves can be measured by how many times they complete a cycle in a second. (Is that day in high school physics class starting to come back to you now?) We measure these cycles per second in a unit of measurement called hertz (Hz). In music, particularly in tuning, we refer to the reference pitch A440, which is 440 Hz. This is the note that produces a vibration that cycles at 440 times per second.

So, now that we know what these numbers and notes mean, where do we go from here?


The range of human hearing

The widely accepted range of human hearing stretches from 20 Hz all the way up to 20,000 Hz (or 20k Hz). While most of us are born with this range, most adults actually have a range of 20 Hz to 15k or 16k Hz (barring no high-frequency-specific hearing loss). This sounds astronomical still, but the scale of frequencies doesn’t divide itself evenly. For example, to go up an octave, you need to double the frequency; to go down an octave, you need to halve the frequency. The A above middle C on the piano is 440 Hz, and the A the next octave above is 880 Hz, but the A the octave below middle C is 220 Hz. This means that there's only one octave of notes (12 half-steps) between 10,000 Hz and 20,000 Hz, yet also only an octave between 80 Hz and 160 Hz.

Now we know how we measure sounds, and what the playing field is for what we can hear. But how do we describe these sounds?

20 to 80 Hz

This range is your true low end. The bottom half of this range (20 Hz to 40 Hz) is more felt than heard. In this range, it can be very hard to discern a true pitch. Most speaker systems, even high-end studio monitors, don't even produce sound accurately in this range, if at all. For reference, an Imperial Bosendorfer extended grand piano starts at the note F0 (21.8 Hz fundamental) and your normal concert grand starts at A0 (27.5 Hz fundamental) – and even those notes are hard to tune at their fundamental. The upper half (40 Hz to 80 Hz) is where the lowest note of the four-string bass (fundamental E at 41 Hz) comes into play. This is that rumbly bottom end you feel in your chest when you hear it.

80 to 160 Hz

This is where we enter what is commonly considered the bass range. Around 80 to 120 Hz is where most consumer-grade mixers with fixed EQ points and home stereos set their "low" band. We now see the guitar enter the spectrum here (low E string in standard tuning is 82.5 Hz fundamental), and the bass actually begins its exit at its fundamental pitch (G string open fundamental is 98 Hz). This range, when boosted, is where things can feel boomy or thumpy, but also adds warmth. For example, that big kick you feel in a dance club when the beat is thumping away tends to live around 100 to 120 Hz. Not enough in this range on low-end instruments (bass, kick drum, piano, synths) can lead to them feeling thin and anemic. Really powerful, rumbling, low-sounding feedback from monitors in a stage setting tends to live in this range.


Understanding Frequencies: How to Describe What You're Hearing to Your Sound Tech

Recording, Angry Sound Guy, Performing, Honing Your Craft

Dec 17, 2014 09:00 AM

Aaron Staniulis

frequenciesImage via dvdyourmemories.com

A highly relatable tale: You're onstage during soundcheck or in the studio, and you find yourself trying to describe a sound to the engineer in charge of whatever you're working on. It's at that point you find yourself at a loss for words on how to describe that high-pitched, squealy thingy the synth is making, or that flabby, meedley-deedley sound from the guitar. How do you put into words that thing that defies description, or perhaps even defies imitation? This quick guide is your crash course to the world of sounds, and how to refer to them and talk about them.

What is a frequency?

Usually, when we describe sounds in the audio world and talk about where they reside in pitch (low to high), we refer to them in terms of their frequency. Sound is a wave, a movement of air molecules that our brain translates into sound through a surprisingly complicated series of workings within our ears. These waves can be measured by how many times they complete a cycle in a second. (Is that day in high school physics class starting to come back to you now?) We measure these cycles per second in a unit of measurement called hertz (Hz). In music, particularly in tuning, we refer to the reference pitch A440, which is 440 Hz. This is the note that produces a vibration that cycles at 440 times per second.

So, now that we know what these numbers and notes mean, where do we go from here?

The range of human hearing

The widely accepted range of human hearing stretches from 20 Hz all the way up to 20,000 Hz (or 20k Hz). While most of us are born with this range, most adults actually have a range of 20 Hz to 15k or 16k Hz (barring no high-frequency-specific hearing loss). This sounds astronomical still, but the scale of frequencies doesn’t divide itself evenly. For example, to go up an octave, you need to double the frequency; to go down an octave, you need to halve the frequency. The A above middle C on the piano is 440 Hz, and the A the next octave above is 880 Hz, but the A the octave below middle C is 220 Hz. This means that there's only one octave of notes (12 half-steps) between 10,000 Hz and 20,000 Hz, yet also only an octave between 80 Hz and 160 Hz.

Now we know how we measure sounds, and what the playing field is for what we can hear. But how do we describe these sounds?

20 to 80 Hz

This range is your true low end. The bottom half of this range (20 Hz to 40 Hz) is more felt than heard. In this range, it can be very hard to discern a true pitch. Most speaker systems, even high-end studio monitors, don't even produce sound accurately in this range, if at all. For reference, an Imperial Bosendorfer extended grand piano starts at the note F0 (21.8 Hz fundamental) and your normal concert grand starts at A0 (27.5 Hz fundamental) – and even those notes are hard to tune at their fundamental. The upper half (40 Hz to 80 Hz) is where the lowest note of the four-string bass (fundamental E at 41 Hz) comes into play. This is that rumbly bottom end you feel in your chest when you hear it.

80 to 160 Hz

This is where we enter what is commonly considered the bass range. Around 80 to 120 Hz is where most consumer-grade mixers with fixed EQ points and home stereos set their "low" band. We now see the guitar enter the spectrum here (low E string in standard tuning is 82.5 Hz fundamental), and the bass actually begins its exit at its fundamental pitch (G string open fundamental is 98 Hz). This range, when boosted, is where things can feel boomy or thumpy, but also adds warmth. For example, that big kick you feel in a dance club when the beat is thumping away tends to live around 100 to 120 Hz. Not enough in this range on low-end instruments (bass, kick drum, piano, synths) can lead to them feeling thin and anemic. Really powerful, rumbling, low-sounding feedback from monitors in a stage setting tends to live in this range.

Quote_blogPeople who are new to thinking of sound in terms of frequencies think low frequencies are actually lower than they are and high frequencies are higher than they are.

160 to 500 Hz

We actually cover a lot of ground in this range. A lot of people who are new to thinking of sound in terms of frequencies think low frequencies are actually lower than they are and high frequencies are higher than they are. In this range, we see the guitar start to disappear at its fundamental frequency (high E string open fundamental is 330 Hz). But 200 to 250 Hz is a double-edged sword; this is where things can sound really warm and sweet, but too much and you get that muddy feeling, like when you have a cold and your voice sounds muffled in your own head. Simply said, a build-up of 200 Hz is a head cold. Above this, 250 to 500 Hz is where things can sound boxy (yes, this is a commonly accepted term). Imagine the woody ring when you hit or knock on a hollow box. It's not as low and muddy as the "head cold," but it's similar. This is where you're looking for issues with that.

500 to 1.6k Hz

We're now entering mids to upper-mids territory in the consumer EQ sense. The guitar is completely out at its fundamental pitch, with the highest of frets being around 900 Hz. This 500 to 900 Hz range is where too much can make things honky or nasal. The audio aid for this range is the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons. That feeling you get with that "wha wha" sound is what a build-up in this band will feel like. Above this is where you find sounds that start to get more pointed and sharp-sounding – for example, the sound that goes along with the TV test pattern (imagine your local public access channel when it's off the air). Well, the sound that accompanies that, the "beeeeeep," is a pure sine wave at 1,000 Hz. So if you hear something that brings that same irritation with it, or feedback that sounds close in pitch to it, you're now somewhere in the 1k Hz to 1.6k Hz range.

1.6 to 4k Hz

This range is where the "presence" in the human voice lies. If things sound dull or flat, a boost around this range (usually around 3k Hz) will liven them up. However, we find the Goldilocks scenario that all sound techs live with: too much of a boost in this range, and sounds become harsh and edgy. We also finally lose the fundamental pitches of the piano here, with the highest of keys usually checking out at around 4k Hz. That same presence element we find in the human voice also lies here in guitars as well, often competing for the same sonic territory. There's a reason lead vocalists and lead guitarists tend to feel at odds with each other not only for stage presence, but also for the same sonic space.

4 to 10k Hz

Welcome to the high end of things. Our home hi-fi and consumer high EQs hang out somewhere up here. (Remember, we're only dealing with about an octave in this range.) Sounds up here tend to be of the hiss and squeal variety – you know, the painful kinds. Sibilants like the S's of words are what tend to live in this range. Without them, things sound undefined or lack a certain crispness. The sizzle from cymbals and other percussion is present around 7k Hz to 10k Hz. Shrieking, piercing feedback, or a real crunchy, tinny quality to sounds can be addressed in this band.

10k Hz and beyond

These are the extreme highs. This is where frequency response starts to experience dropouts like it did in the low end, but for the opposite reasons. Sometimes it's because the transducer of a microphone may not be able to accurately respond to these frequencies, but sometimes it's because people can literally not hear things going on in this range. (High-end hearing in this realm is usually the first to go.) These frequencies can best be described as "air." That heady, open quality to a sound usually results from good representation of overtones in this range. Now, before you go pegging out all your EQs at 10 to 12k Hz to add airiness, also understand that simply boosting this range won't give you anything but noise if nothing exists there to begin with. For example, jingle a set of car keys. That really crispy, bell-like quality of the keys hitting one another is what we refer to in this air range. Can’t hear it? Don't worry, I know a number of incredible mix engineers who I'm nearly positive are deaf to anything above 14k Hz, and they still do incredible work. (The science behind why that's the case is actually incredibly complex, and I already fear I may have passed the saturation point for most Twitter-generation audiences... so perhaps in another post.)

I hope that this breakdown will begin to help you describe what you hear and define how you hear it. At the very least, you may now understand why some sound techs roll their eyes at you when you ask for more "highs" in your monitor mix – it's not actually that simple.

Aaron Staniulis is not only a freelance live sound and recording engineer, but also an accomplished musician, singer, and songwriter. He has spent equal time on both sides of the microphone working for and playing alongside everyone from local bar cover bands to major label recording artists, in venues stretching from tens to tens of thousands of people. Having seen both sides at all levels gives him the perfect perspective for shedding light on the "Angry Sound Guy." You can find out more about what he’s up to at aaronstaniulis.com.


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