Common knowledge has it that you can’t hear anything in space. There’s no sound. But that’s not strictly true. As you can imagine, the specifics of it are all very technical, but the general gist is that there is sound out there in the universe, it’s just not the kind of sound that we’re used down here on Earth. It’s electromagnetic waves. And scientists have found a way to record it and ‘translate’ it so that we can hear it. And the results are really quite incredible!
These electromagnetic waves pulsate at the same wavelength as regular sound waves, so – with a little tinkering – they’re audible to the human ear. NASA have monitoring instruments on most of their probes, including the famous Voyager probe. These instruments pick up and record these waves and can then translate them into something we can hear. But this audio data isn’t just cool to listen to, it serves as a very important lesson to astrophysicists. You see, with these recordings, they can now start to calculate, quite accurately, the density of interstellar plasma. Something that NASA have been keen to do for some time.
What is ‘interstellar‘, exactly? Well, it’s basically space that’s outside of our solar system. That’s right, Voyager has left our solar system. And it’s recording what the rest of the universe sounds like!
The principle investigator for the Voyager plasma wave investigation, Don Gurnett, said of these new recordings, ‘When you hear this, please recognise that this is an historic event. It’s the first time that we’ve ever made a recording of sounds in interstellar space.’
Listen for yourself. Just beware, it’s about as creepy but fascinating as it gets…
Wow. Haunting, huh?