Sunday, July 14, 2024

Her screams are horrifying…haunting soundtracks from the solar system!

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The vacuum of space must be silent. There, where the atoms are too far apart to propagate sound waves, any sound is silenced before it begins.

But this does not mean that no sound can be extracted. In fact, if we could hear it, some solar system objects would emit a deafening noise. Plasma waves can also be deflected around.

Plasma waves are formed when electrons become trapped in magnetic field lines around large objects such as planets and move downward in spirals.

If we convert the plasma wave frequencies into sound, we can hear their “terrifying screams.”

For example, the Sun must be positively decrescent because its surface convection cells are constantly rising and falling.

Scientists estimate that if sound propagated through space, the Sun could be heard as a continuous roar of 100 decibels.

The first sounds from space were recorded by astronomer Karl Goethe Jansky in 1932, who built a rotating radio telescope called Jansky’s Merry-Go-Round, designed to detect a specific frequency of radio waves.

As his data began to come in, a persistent “hissing” appeared in the background, which Yansky discovered was not random noise, but the sound of the Milky Way’s heart.

When we started sending probes into space with the launch of Sputnik in 1957, we started getting more data.

Among the instruments used are instruments designed to capture invisible light patterns and plasma waves in the sometimes chaotic environments surrounding the planets of the solar system.

Radio waves are not sound, they are a form of light that can encode audio data and, when picked up by a receiver, are converted back into sound.

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Plasma waves around planets can produce interesting hisses and whistles called choruses.


The sound of the earth can sound like the sound of birds or whales. Saturn, with its intricate system of moons and rings, sounds like the soundtrack to a weird sci-fi movie from the 1950s. Even Jupiter’s moons have their own complex sound files.

Both the Inside lander and the Perseverance rover recorded the lonely sounds of the Martian wind, dust devils dancing across the dusty surface.


NASA has compiled a collection of its audio into a playlist, which you can listen to on the NASA Science website.

Stuart Wagner
Stuart Wagner
"Professional coffee fan. Total beer nerd. Hardcore reader. Alcohol fanatic. Evil twitter buff. Friendly tv scholar."

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