The European Space Agency (ESA) brings us its particular terrifying soundtrack for these days before Halloween. He just released a recording of a sound that shows what our planet’s magnetic field sounds like. This protective force field turns out to be a rather annoying noise that, in turn, protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles from solar winds.
Spooky sounds coming from the magnetic field
What you are going to hear here is the magnetic field as the solar storm, translated into sound by ESA’s three Swarm satellites and thanks to a team of scientists from the Technical University of Denmark.
The result is quite exciting for something that is supposed to protect us. Perhaps it reminds us of the sound of a glacier creaking while in motion?
“The team used data from ESA’s Swarm satellites and other sources and used these magnetic signals to manipulate and control a sonic representation of the central field. The project has certainly been a rewarding exercise in bridging art and science ,” musician and project supporter Klaus Nielsen, of the Technical University of Denmark, explained in the ESA statement.
Here you can hear this eerie sound of the Earth’s magnetic field. What does it remind you of?
How have they managed to sonify the magnetic field?
The sophisticated and dynamic bubble of the Earth’s magnetic field protects us from charged particles carried by the solar wind and from cosmic radiation. Some of the energy from these particle collisions is converted into the characteristic bluish-green light of the aurora borealis, which can occasionally be seen from high northern latitudes when these particles strike atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, primarily oxygen and nitrogen. We already know this. But how do you go about recording your sound? You can’t just point a mic and expect what you need to be recorded.
Thanks to a trio of satellites, the Swarms, which were launched in 2013 . These satellites carefully detect magnetic signals that originate not only in the Earth’s core, but also in the mantle, crust, and oceans, as well as in the ionosphere and magnetosphere. The satellites are in two separate polar orbits, with two flying side by side at a height of 450 kilometers and the third at a height of 530 kilometers.
“We gained access to a very interesting sound system consisting of more than 30 speakers dug into the ground at Solbjerg Square in Copenhagen,” the ESA researchers explain. “ We’ve set it up so that each speaker represents a different location on Earth and demonstrates how our magnetic field has fluctuated over the last 100,000 years. Throughout this week, visitors will be able to hear the incredible rumble of our magnetic field, so if you happen to be in Copenhagen, come and check out this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Referencia: The scary sound of Earth’s magnetic field ESA / Applications / Observing the Earth / FutureEO / Swarm Press Release 2022