Sounds in Space Resemble Humpback Whales

January 4, 2016

Earth’s radiation belts create radio waves known as Earth’s “chorus.” When played as sounds we can hear, it’s similar to the song of a humpback whale.

The chorus was picked up by NASA’s twin Radiation Belt Storm Probes in 2012 as they passed through the region of space where the chorus originates. It’s an electromagnetic phenomenon in the Van Allen belts, made of radio waves.

“This is what the radiation belts would sound like to a human being if we had radio antennas for ears,” Craig Kletzing told NASA. Kletzing’s team at the University of Iowa built a receiver to pick up the signals.

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