This is what the Earth's magnetic field sounds like!
If you thought the concept of Earth's magnetic field existed only in theory, then you are in for a big surprise. The five-minute audio clip released by European Space Agency (ESA) provides real and astonishing evidence. For the first time, with the help of ESA's Swarm satellites, scientists from the Technical University of Denmark have managed to convert Earth's magnetic signals to sound.
Why does this story matter?
- The presence of the Earth's magnetic field shields us from cosmic radiation.
- The interaction between charged particles originating from the Sun and our planet's magnetic field leads to the stunning display of blue-green light, termed auroras, which are predominantly observed in the polar regions.
- Scientists have now decoded a method to hear the sound of the magnetic field.
Did the sound spook you?
Everything to know about the Swarm Mission
Swarm is ESA's first constellation mission for Earth Observation (EO). It was launched in 2013 to probe the planet's geomagnetic field by collecting signals emitted by the Earth's crust, mantle, and core, as well as the ionosphere and magnetosphere. The mission comprises three satellites—Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie—positioned in the near-polar orbit. It also provides information about the weather in space.
How were the magnetic signals recorded?
"The team used data from ESA's Swarm satellites and used these magnetic signals to manipulate and control a sonic representation of the core field. The project has certainly been a rewarding exercise in bringing art and science together," said Klaus Nielsen, project supporter. A sound system comprising more than 30 loudspeakers was placed at Solbjerg Square in Copenhagen to play the sounds.
The setup demonstrates magnetic field fluctuation over 1 lakh years
"We have set it up in a way that each speaker represents a different location on Earth and demonstrates how our magnetic field has fluctuated over the last 100,000 years," added Nielsen. "The rumbling of Earth's magnetic field is accompanied by a representation of a geomagnetic storm that resulted from a solar flare on 3 November 2011, and indeed it sounds pretty scary."