Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Sounds of Jupiter :: NASA-Voyager Recording

Okay, here is a fair warning. This is pretty spooky.

Despite the fact that space is a vacuum, it is remarkable to note that the planets and the sun do make sound --even our own planet. We would never hear these sounds with our natural ears, but special equipment can pick it up and reprocess it into a range our ears CAN hear and this is the result. Here's the description from YouTube.

Fascinating recording of Jupiter sounds (electromagnetic "voices") by NASA-Voyager. The complex interactions of charged electromagnetic particles from the solar wind, planetary magnetosphere etc. create vibration "soundscapes". It sounds very interesting, even scary. Jupiter is mostly composed of hydrogen and helium. The entire planet is made of gas, with no solid surface under the atmosphere. The pressures and temperatures deep in Jupiter are so high that gases form a gradual transition into liquids which are gradually compressed into a metallic "plasma" in which the molecules have been stripped of their outer electrons. The winds of Jupiter are a thousand metres per second relative to the rotating interior. Jupiter's magnetic field is four thousand times stronger than Earth's, and is tipped by 11° degrees of axis spin. This causes the magnetic field to wobble, which has a profound effect on trapped electronically charged particles. This plasma of charged particles is accelerated beyond the magnetosphere of Jupiter to speeds of tens of thousands of kilometres per second. It is these magnetic particle vibrations which generate some of the sound you hear on this recording.

There are other video clips available with the sounds of other planets. I need to reiterate that some of them sound so spooky that I hesitated to post them here. But they only sound scary because of the processing and the fact that these are sounds we would not normally hear. There are entire CDs worth of these sound effect recordings.

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