For Larry Granroth, a NASA data analyst, the “chorus waves” sound like something out of a movie.
“There’s a wide variety of sounds,” he says. “Some of the sound effects are like spacecraft chasing each other and shooting lasers or something.”
Granroth works for NASA’s Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science team at the University of Iowa; the team released recordings from the Van Allen belt.
Granroth says the NASA Van Allen probes have been exploring the hostile radiation belts surrounding Earth, collecting detailed measures of high-energy particles and radio waves.
The Van Allen belt protects the Earth from space rays like solar winds by collecting radiation. Bill Kurth is a scientist working on the project. He says these chirps explain how the protection works.
“These waves, we think, are responsible for both the loss and creation of radiation belt electrons,” he says. “It’s a very complex process.”
There have been other recordings of these radio waves before, according to Kurth.
The sounds are recordings of radio waves, recorded through a receiver just like the one you’re using in your car right now. Kurth describes it as “tuning into the Van Allen belt.”
They hope to publish more recordings later this month.