First Recording of Earth's Magnetic Field During Solar Storm Sounds Like Creepy Birds
The worst part about being human -- apart from dealing with existential dread and having to pay for things -- is that we're only able to understand the universe in terms of what we've experienced on this insignificant dot floating through space. We're also held back by our own biology. Some things are impossible for us to process, including the sound of our planet's magnetic field while it gets battered by solar wind.
But hearing and understanding this sound is important to scientists. Earth's "magnetosphere" plays a huge role on this planet -- it protects us from the radiation brought on by solar wind. You can tell how severe the wind is at any given time by listening to the magnetosphere. And recently, for the first time, scientists recorded Earth's magnetic field activity during a solar storm. They converted it so that human ears can process the sound, and it ended up sounding kind of like... chirps and whistles?
The magnetosphere is constantly complaining to some degree, producing low-frequency waves that remain relatively consistent. But when there is a massive magnetic eruption on the sun's surface and particles of the sun are hurled into space, Earth's magnetic field goes apeshit. That's when you might be able to witness the gorgeous Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights). They'll actually be visible over the US on Wednesday.
It's important to study this kind of activity because, although there is additional protection beneath the Earth's magnetosphere, space weather is still relevant to electrical power and communication systems. The electric birds chirping in the audio track are canaries in an electromagnetic coal mine.
h/t Business Insider