Advertisement
Active regions on the sun combined to look something like a jack-o-lantern’s face on Oct. 8, 2014. The image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which watches the sun at all times from its orbit in space. Photo: NASA/SDO

Sometimes nature itself can be eerier than anything the human imagination can conjure. NASA is out to prove it again this Halloween, with a newly-curated collection of the sounds it has collected over a matter of decades of missions out to the great beyond.

From screeching to whistling, digital-like blasts, to the chaotic thrashing of lightning on alien worlds, the Soundcloud playlist is available through the space agency.

The radio waves and other energy has to be converted into sound for listening with the human ear. The agency did so, preparing the playlist for this October. Included are:

  • The insectoid crackle of particles pelting the space probe Stardust as it passed by Comet Tempel 1 on Feb. 14, 2011 is intermittent and sounds alive. The instrument on the craft’s protective shield captured the close encounter.
  • A smattering of Saturn radio emissions include the liquid-like, sci-fi-sounding echo caught by Cassini and other instruments. The ringed planet has intense radio emissions, especially focused on the auroras near the poles of the huge planet, similar to our northern and southern lights. One of the recordings of the radio waves actually sounds like the vintage UFO sound effects of films from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, e.g. “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”
  • The radio echoes from Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, sound like an early Atari video game, with intermittent blips and aural pitfalls.
  • Ganymede, the enormous moon of Jupiter, boasts the most complex sound of all. The complicated, changing waves sound like a busy and incomprehensible alien broadcast. The recording comes from the Galileo spacecraft’s flyby on June 27, 1996, and was captured from the craft’s Plasma Wave Experiment tool.
  • The screeching of Juno crossing the bow shock of Jupiter and entering the massive planet’s magnetosphere is another featured slice of audio.
  • Kepler caught the light curve waves of a distant sound, which were also converted to sound. The audio included hooting cycles, and a big blast of far-off bass.
  • Voyager captured the chaotic thrash of lightning on Jupiter, as well as the whistle of interstellar plasma.
  • The radio waves from Jupiter captured in 2001 by the space agency sound like extraplanetary windchimes.

Halloween is celebrated virtually every year by NASA. Two years ago, it was documenting the close flyby of Earth by an asteroid called the 2015 TB145 that came to be dubbed the “Great Pumpkin.” But it also has released images of “spooky” space phenomena, including a “Jack-o-Lantern Sun” and the ghostly glow of a dead neutron star with a pulsating “tell-tale heart” in the Crab Nebula.

Advertisement
Advertisement