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Earth’s Radiation Belt Sounds like Whale Song [Video]

The radio frequencies of Earth’s radiation belt have uncanny resemblance to a sort of whale/bird song remix. Check out this video to learn more about NASA’s efforts to explore the belts and listen to the Earth’s song.

When we hear the “song” of the Earth, exactly what are we hearing? Science@NASA explains:

Chorus is an electromagnetic phenomenon caused by plasma waves in Earth’s radiation belts. For years, ham radio operators on Earth have been listening to them from afar. Now, NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes are traveling through the region of space where chorus actually comes from–and the recordings are out of this world.

“This is what the radiation belts would sound like to a human being if we had radio antennas for ears,” says Kletzing, whose team at the University of Iowa built the “EMFISIS” (Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science) receiver used to pick up the signals.

He’s careful to point out that these are not acoustic waves of the kind that travel through the air of our planet. Chorus is made of radio waves that oscillate at acoustic frequencies, between 0 and 10 kHz. The magnetic search coil antennas of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes are designed to detect these kinds of waves.

Check out the video above to hear the song and learn more about the radiation belts wrapping our planet.

Spacecraft Records ‘Earthsong’ [NASA Science News]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/4/12

Comments (5)

  1. shotter

    404 not found

  2. Jeremiah

    Mind blown!

  3. Art€

    fabulous, and jaw dropping!!!!

  4. Trev

    Sounds like a tropical rain forest?

  5. J Burkhart

    If you have a 404 it is your loss. Fabulous audio

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