U.S. space agency NASA has released a playlist of spooky space sounds to mark the occasion of Halloween. Interestingly, the eerie music is a compilation of sounds captured by numerous satellites traveling through the cosmos at different times.
Capturing Sounds In Space
The playlist curated by NASA features sounds from various missions to planets like Saturn, Jupiter and other celestial worlds located in the solar system’s outer part.
It seems some spacecraft instruments are able to capture radio emissions from extraterrestrial worlds even though space vacuum and the lack of atmosphere mean there is no way to relay sound waves. The captured radio waves are sent back to Earth and translated into sound waves.
Tracks On NASA’s Halloween Playlist
The tracks on the coveted playlist include Jupiter’s “roar” captured by the Juno spacecraft as it reached inside the magnetosphere of the planet. The sound basically represented the moment when Juno crossed the bow shock outside Jupiter’s magnetosphere.
The Halloween playlist also includes sounds from Ganymede — the largest moon of Jupiter. The moon’s sound was captured by the Galileo spacecraft during its first flyby of the natural satellite in 1996. The mission’s Plasma Wave Experiment instrument captured radio signals from Ganymede’s magnetosphere that were then translated using an approach known as data sonification.
The music piece featuring sounds from Ganymede on the playlist is called “Beware of Jupiter’s Largest Moon Ganymede.” The music features a powerful noise burst that marks the entrance of Galileo in Ganymede’s magnetosphere. The high-pitch track sounds similar to a music piece from an interstellar video game.
The spooky sounds of Saturn were captured by the Cassini spacecraft, which incidentally just ended its 13-year stint at the ringed planet. The sounds are a translation of the planet’s radio emissions that are closely related to the auroras near Saturn’s poles.
Saturn’s auroras are quite akin to the northern and southern lights that occur on Earth when solar wind materials interact with the magnetic field and atmosphere of the planet. Cassini also captured the booming sounds from a huge storm on the ringed planet, in addition to recording the sounds heard during the spacecraft’s historic plunge between Saturn and its innermost rings.
NASA’s playlist for Halloween also features sounds translated from radio waves of Earth's own atmosphere, star KIC7671081B’s emissions, passing comet Tempel 1’s dust particles pelting a spacecraft, and plasma waves’ sounds.
Plasma waves create a rhythmic cacophony similar to a booming ocean surf that can be heard across space with the EMFISIS instrument aboard NASA's Van Allen Probes.