FromQuarkstoQuasars

NASA Records The Sounds of Space

Jolene CreightonAugust 4th 2014
Person Hoovering Above Earth in space (Rendering)
Image source

In the black recesses of space, there is no water for you to drink, and there is no air for you to breath. For all intents and purposes, there is nothing. Space is a virtual vacuum. Since there isn’t anything to conduct sound waves in space (there’s nothing to transfer the sound vibrations from the source to your ear), many people assume that sound does not exist in the vastness of the cosmos.
But there is sound in space.

Typically, sound waves are mechanical waves. In other words, they are an oscillation (vibration) of matter that transfers energy through a medium. When sound is produced, it is because something is vibrating (like a vocal cord), and this something hits the air next to it in a particular way, which causes all the other air particles to bump together in a particular way, and—Presto!—you have sound. On the other hand, light waves are examples of electromagnetic waves. However, sound can be found as electromagnetic vibrations, as there are electromagnetic waves that pulsate at the same wavelength as the sound waves that we can hear. Here’s where NASA comes in.

The space agency used instruments on several probes (like Voyager and HAWKEYE) to record these waves. Then they put them together  into a recording of a sound for all of us to hear. The result is a sound that is (frighteningly) akin to what you would expect to hear echoing as you sink into a black abyss.

So take a moment, and hear what our solar system really sounds like. It is a great video for anyone who ever wondered what space sounds like…

For live, 24 hour sounds from space, see: http://www.radio-astronomy.net/

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