Thursday, November 20, 2008

Music of the Rings

You need to trust me and just listen to this.

It's eerie and strange and a little scary and quite literally otherworldly. This is the sound of the radio emissions coming from Saturn, recorded by Cassini, and dubbed "The Music of the Rings" by Donald Gurnett, a physicist at University of Iowa. The video accompanying the audio explains the details, so I won't bother.

I stole this from the always interesting GM=tc^3: A Babe in the Universe. She thinks it's an indication of a black hole in the center of Saturn, and goes on to say planets may be "seeded" by black holes in the early formation of solar systems. Who knows, she might be right; she's certainly smarter than I am.

Here's a closely related picture (also stolen from GM=tc^3) of the aurora around Saturn's North pole (the image was captured by Casinni as well). This is the same phenomenon as the auroras powering the Northern Lights here on Earth. Both are caused by the strong magnetic fields surrounding the two planets. And those same magnetic fields produce radio signals, which in turn produce all that crazy music. They make the worlds sing.

Click it to enlarge it. It'd quite a beautiful picture.


meno said...

Darth Vader lives on Saturn!

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Very spooky. Very cool. I listened to Earth afterward, much homier. I want audio files of that. Put it on a playlist.

Irrelephant said...

Remember when you were a kid and you got close to a fan and talked? *g*

You know, I get a really good feeling to know that all the planets and suns and probably even the little bits of floating pebbles are singing, all the time. If only we all had ears to hear them.

Hilary said...

That was a tad creepy.. but quite fascinating. Thanks for that.

Noel said...

That was creepy....yet soothing.

Mutha said...

It is so ironic that the human-composed sounds of space actually come close to matching the real ones.The freaky kind of ooooooooo-weeeeeeeeee! you hear all the time in old sci-fi movies is close to these saturn sounds.

Clowncar said...

Either Darth, or some crazy old guy with a theremin, Meno.

I went back and listened to the "related" vids from youtube after reading your comment. Good idea about the playlist. My fave is the clicks and hissing of the Earth's auroroa.

I still get in front of fans and talk, Irr. And not to be a stickler, but only planets and moons with magnetic fields sing, at least in the radio spectrum.

Hilary and Noel: creepy but cool describes perhaps a few too many of the things I like.

Mutha, my thoughts exactly. That "ooooooooo-weeeeeeeeee!" sound is made by a theremin. I keep meaning to build one someday.

Irrelephant said...

Stickle away, CC. Ever since catholic school it's the only way I can learn. Helps if you smack me with a steel ruler, too.