British Antarctic Survey Records Unique Soundtrack of Earth's Geomagnetic Field

CC0 / / Planet Earth
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Researchers with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) recently captured a collection of otherworldly sounds when attempting to detect signals from lightning activity and space storms.

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The team, which is based at the Halley Research Station in Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf, was using a Very Low Frequency receiver antenna situated underneath the Earth's geomagnetic field lines when they managed to record what have since been dubbed the "Sounds of Space."

"Our planet produces a wonderful variety of radio emissions," Nigel Meredith, a four-year veteran of the base, said in a statement. "As we know, we can't hear things in space since sounds waves are vibrations, typically of air molecules."

"But the emissions we're talking about are mainly electromagnetic waves and they cannot be heard directly." Meredith later noted that he and his team had to convert the emission recordings so they could be heard by the human ear.

​According to the BAS team, the sounds they managed to detect were the creation of geomagnetic storms, which were the result of charged particles and electrons being ejected by the sun toward Earth.

The sounds were also recently incorporated for the December 11 update for "Elite Dangerous," a space flight simulation video game that allows players to fight aliens and explore star systems.

​"The new exploration gameplay, gives players the chance to experience the amazing ‘sounds of space' for themselves," Meredith said in a statement. "The players, who already have an interest in exploration and space, will hopefully enjoy the new space ‘sounds' and be tempted to find out a little more about them."

​"When we started updating our exploration gameplay for the latest game update, we knew instantly that the BAS sounds were a perfect fit," Joe Hogan, lead audio designer for "Elite Dangerous," told Earther.

"It's mind-blowing that you get such fascinating (and baffling) audio from listening to nature throwing a ton of solar wind at a magnetic ball."

The BAS team is currently researching space weather and the impacts that it can have on the Earth's climate and powergrid.

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