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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

The song of the Earth is like a space whale

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(NASA-Apollo8-Dec24-Earthrise image by Apollo 8 crewmember Bill Anders, public domain)

Listen to the sound of the Earth from space, as recorded by NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes.

Our planet has a song that it sings as it orbits in space. Called the auroral chorus, it is produced by electromagnetic radio waves in the Earth's magnetosphere, and is audible to the human ear (if you're in space without a helmet, so perhaps not).

(Credit: Know Your Meme)

It consists of a series of chirps and whistles — like a combination of birds and whales — and can be picked up by radio receivers.

The recording of the auroral chorus below comes from NASA's Radiation Belt Storm Probes, which were launched into space on 30 August. The probes were sent up to orbit the Earth from within its Van Allen belts in order to study them.

The "music" was recorded on 5 September by the probes' Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS). And were it not for the fact that the moon has no magnetosphere of its own, we might make a guess that the phenomenon is responsible for the strange reports of music from the Apollo 10. (Hey, we like a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person.)

It's quite eerily beautiful.


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