The Song of Saturn

Just a quick one… This beautifully creepy sound is the sound of Saturn’s aurorae!

Saturn Song

The beautiful aurorae that sweep across our planet’s poles isn’t unique to Earth. Actually, any planet with a magnetic field will generate them. Charged particles stream from the Sun in all directions, screaming through the Solar system at hundreds of kilometres per second. When they run into a planet’s magnetic field, they get pulled in, spiralling down the planet’s magnetic field lines until they strike the atmosphere. As they do, they hit molecules in the atmosphere, slamming into them and transferring their energy. That energy is then released by the molecules as both light and, in the case of Saturn, radio waves.

The Cassini probe detected those radio emissions in Saturn’s atmosphere. When converted to sound, this is the song that Saturn sings. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks it sounds like something from Forbidden Planet!

(Or is it the sound of Saturn’s heartbeat…?)

This post may have been at least partly to show off my newfound ability to embed sound clips and check that they work ok…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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