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Why did scientist Christian Doppler observe musicians both on a moving train and also from a stationary point not on the train?

Doppler needed to compare the perception of sound when the observer is stationary and the sound source moves, as well as when the sound source and the observer are both in motion.

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Describe a situation in your life when you might rely on the Doppler shift to help you either while driving a car or walking near traffic.

If I am driving and I hear Doppler shift in an ambulance siren, I would be able to tell when it was getting closer and also if it has passed by. This would help me to know whether I needed to pull over and let the ambulance through.

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Section summary

  • The Doppler effect is an alteration in the observed frequency of a sound due to motion of either the source or the observer.
  • The actual change in frequency is called the Doppler shift.
  • A sonic boom is constructive interference of sound created by an object moving faster than sound.
  • A sonic boom is a type of bow wake created when any wave source moves faster than the wave propagation speed.
  • For a stationary observer and a moving source, the observed frequency f obs size 12{f rSub { size 8{"obs"} } } {} is:
    f obs = f s v w v w ± v s , size 12{f rSub { size 8{"obs"} } =f rSub { size 8{s} } left ( { {v rSub { size 8{w} } } over {v rSub { size 8{w} } +- v rSub { size 8{s} } } } right )} {}
    where f s size 12{f rSub { size 8{s} } } {} is the frequency of the source, v s size 12{v rSub { size 8{s} } } {} is the speed of the source, and v w size 12{v rSub { size 8{w} } } {} is the speed of sound. The minus sign is used for motion toward the observer and the plus sign for motion away.
  • For a stationary source and moving observer, the observed frequency is:
    f obs = f s v w ± v obs v w , size 12{f rSub { size 8{"obs"} } =f rSub { size 8{s} } left ( { {v rSub { size 8{w} } +- v rSub { size 8{"obs"} } } over {v rSub { size 8{w} } } } right )} {}
    where v obs size 12{v rSub { size 8{"obs"} } } {} is the speed of the observer.

Conceptual questions

Is the Doppler shift real or just a sensory illusion?

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Due to efficiency considerations related to its bow wake, the supersonic transport aircraft must maintain a cruising speed that is a constant ratio to the speed of sound (a constant Mach number). If the aircraft flies from warm air into colder air, should it increase or decrease its speed? Explain your answer.

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When you hear a sonic boom, you often cannot see the plane that made it. Why is that?

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Problems&Exercises

(a) What frequency is received by a person watching an oncoming ambulance moving at 110 km/h and emitting a steady 800-Hz sound from its siren? The speed of sound on this day is 345 m/s. (b) What frequency does she receive after the ambulance has passed?

(a) 878 Hz

(b) 735 Hz

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(a) At an air show a jet flies directly toward the stands at a speed of 1200 km/h, emitting a frequency of 3500 Hz, on a day when the speed of sound is 342 m/s. What frequency is received by the observers? (b) What frequency do they receive as the plane flies directly away from them?

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What frequency is received by a mouse just before being dispatched by a hawk flying at it at 25.0 m/s and emitting a screech of frequency 3500 Hz? Take the speed of sound to be 331 m/s.

3.79 × 10 3 Hz
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A spectator at a parade receives an 888-Hz tone from an oncoming trumpeter who is playing an 880-Hz note. At what speed is the musician approaching if the speed of sound is 338 m/s?

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A commuter train blows its 200-Hz horn as it approaches a crossing. The speed of sound is 335 m/s. (a) An observer waiting at the crossing receives a frequency of 208 Hz. What is the speed of the train? (b) What frequency does the observer receive as the train moves away?

(a) 12.9 m/s

(b) 193 Hz

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Can you perceive the shift in frequency produced when you pull a tuning fork toward you at 10.0 m/s on a day when the speed of sound is 344 m/s? To answer this question, calculate the factor by which the frequency shifts and see if it is greater than 0.300%.

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Two eagles fly directly toward one another, the first at 15.0 m/s and the second at 20.0 m/s. Both screech, the first one emitting a frequency of 3200 Hz and the second one emitting a frequency of 3800 Hz. What frequencies do they receive if the speed of sound is 330 m/s?

First eagle hears 4.23 × 10 3 Hz

Second eagle hears 3.56 × 10 3 Hz

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What is the minimum speed at which a source must travel toward you for you to be able to hear that its frequency is Doppler shifted? That is, what speed produces a shift of 0.300% on a day when the speed of sound is 331 m/s?

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Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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