Just in time for the culmination of this year’s spooky season, NASA has debuted a playlist of sounds from space. And even though we know none of it is aliens, those noises are creepy as.
From cacophonic plasma waves to eerie Saturn radio emissions and whispers caught off Jupiter’s moons, this playlist of space sounds is weird, beautiful, and a little unpleasant at times.
Now, these sounds are not actually captured using audio recorders, so we just have to make clear – if you were hanging out in Ganymede’s orbit, this is not what you would hear.
Instead, it’s the output of data from when astronomers convert the readings captured by various space probes and instruments into audible sound waves. Thanks to NASA’s SoundCloud account, we can enjoy them too:
Judging from this playlist, the creepiest planet in our Solar System appears to be the gas giant Jupiter and its numerous gigantic moons.
For example, some haunting screeching and roaring was produced when Juno crossed into Jupiter’s formidable magnetic field – the protective shield that screens the planet from the blasting winds of our home star.
As we reported last year, the probe actually underwent a ‘bow shock’ when it was crossing into Jupiter’s magnetosphere, and the event lasted for two hours:
The sound is produced when the supersonic solar winds that are hurtling through the Solar System are suddenly slowed down and heated up as they plough into Jupiter’s magnetosphere, resulting in bow shock – it’s sort like the sonic boom produced when an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound here on Earth, and the compression waves coming off it combine to form a shock wave.
And even though we know what we’re listening to is actually an awesome output of scientific data, we’re still pretty sure Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede must be haunted – just listen to those unnerving whispers coming out of its own magnetosphere:
Those eerie sounds come from converted radio signals caught by the Plasma Wave Experiment electric dipole antenna, housed on the Galileo spacecraft which passed by the moon back in 1996.
Meanwhile the radio waves captured from the intense emissions spewed out by Saturn are more akin to classic sound effects you’d find on Star Trek: The Original Series – but with added spookiness:
But creepy noises don’t just come from elsewhere in the Solar System – turns out our own planet’s magnetosphere can generate some pretty intense noises, too.
“In regions laced with magnetic fields, such as the space environment surrounding our planet, particles are continually tossed to and fro by the motion of various electromagnetic waves known as plasma waves,” NASA explained earlier this year.
“These plasma waves, like the roaring ocean surf, create a rhythmic cacophony that – with the right tools – we can hear across space.”
That’s pretty damn awesome.
We recommend you use this playlist to marvel at the cosmic wonders of the universe, but it might also work as nice ambience to blast out the living room when trick-or-treaters arrive at your door. Whoosh!