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Jupiter's 'Spooky' Sound Emissions Coming from the Planet's Aurora Captured

Oct 12, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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It's already Halloween in Jupiter! An instrument aboard the spacecraft recorded the spooky sounds from Jupiter's auroras during Juno's orbit around the planet.

When Juno completed an orbit around Jupiter, most of its instruments were activated including the University of Iowa's "Waves" instrument recorder. The UI system was "listening" to the auroras, a natural phenomenon similar to Earth's northern lights but occurring on the northern part of Jupiter. The planet's auroras emit radio signals that can then be detected and recorded by the instrument aboard the spacecraft. The spooky sounds come from "waves" that Juno detected when it was about 2,600 miles away from Jupiter's cloudy north pole. Engineers controlling the UI device converted the wave recording into sound files that are now known as Jupiter's "spooky" sound.

This is the first time a comprehensive recording and processing of Jupiter's sound emissions was conducted after the emissions were discovered in the 1950s.

"Jupiter is talking to us in a way only gas-giant worlds can," Bill Kurth, a research scientist and co-investigator for Waves said in an interview. "Waves detected the signature emissions of the energetic particles that generate the massive auroras that encircle Jupiter's north pole," Kurth added.

Aside from being creepy, the emissions from Jupiter's auroras are said to be the strongest in the Solar System. The sound was created based on the first close up samples from Jupiter's auroras; the data paved the way for the first comprehensive analysis of the emissions. The data used for this study were gathered by Juno's first flyby called Perijove 1, to the largest planet in the Solar System.

This is an exciting time for researchers to actually put together data gathered at close-range instead of using pre-conceived notions about the biggest and baddest planet in the Solar System.

Scientists aim to further analyze the electrons and ions that cause auroras on top of Jupiter. Juno will help scientists to gather more data about the emissions using the Waves instrument that will study plasma waves in Jupiter's magnetic field lines.

As for the sounds, the radio waves are "downshifted" to the audio spectrum so that it can be heard. Once compressed it can create a "soundtrack" that anyone can listen too especially scientists who claim to enjoy listening to it.

 

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