Science 2 min read

The Sound of Earth During a Solar Storm Will Haunt Your Dreams



We often picture space as void and silent. But it is neither. Besides containing immeasurable amounts and types of matter, space can be a boisterous place.

But, we don’t have to travel far into space to get an idea of what’s happening around us. In near-Earth space, around the magnetosphere, we get to hear the planet’s magnetic singing or the sound of Earth.

Astronomers from the European Space Agency (ESA) have compiled archive data from a satellite mission. They released a recording of the Earth’s magnetic song when struck by a solar storm.

Earth Singing Under Solar Rain

Humans, animals, plants, and all other living organisms on the planet make up what’s called the biosphere. Surrounding the biosphere are layers of gas, the atmosphere, held by Earth’s gravity. Then, above the atmosphere and biosphere, there’s Earth’s magnetic field, or magnetosphere, which protects both from harmful space radiation.

The magnetic field is a result of Earth’s molten iron core. Solar winds made of charged particles continuously bombard it. The magnetosphere reflects some particles towards the Sun. In a region called the foreshock, ions streamed back to interact with those streaming in, resulting in what’s known as magnetoacoustic waves.

In 2000, ESA launched the Cluster mission, made of four Earth-orbiting satellites. The mission aims at studying magnetoacoustic waves.

Read More: Auroras Help Physicists Study Energy Instability in Space

Understanding the interactions between the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere would help prepare for solar eruptions. This phenomenon can have damaging effects on communication and electronics systems both on Earth and in space.

Now, researchers have revealed a recording of the sound of Earth as captured during a solar storm, as opposed to during calm space weather conditions.

“The foreshock is home to intense electromagnetic waves, and disturbances in this region can perturb the Earth’s magnetosphere. Our study reveals that solar storms modify profoundly the foreshock, resulting in a more complex wave activity,” says a new study.

Translated into sound, these magnetoacoustic waves form like a song comprised of eerie whistles and chirps.

It is like Earth is complaining of the bad weather!

The Sound of Earth Under Calm Space Weather

The Sound of Earth During a Solar Storm

Read More: US Navy Files Blame Solar Storm For Sea Mine Explosions

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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