Skip to main content

The Earth is Screaming

Astronomers have recently confirmed that the earth sounds like a three year old throwing a tantrum.

Recordings from space have captured the unpleasant noise, which may be heard by extraterrestrials.

We already know the planet emits a quiet hum, most likely caused by our continuously moving oceans, or our turbulent atmosphere. The radio waves that cause the screeching sounds are created by particles that collide as the solar wind passes through the earth's magnetic field.

New data from the European Space Agency's Cluster mission show that the radio waves, called Auroral Kilometric Radiation, burst into space from the earth in narrow, flat beams.

New technology has enabled researchers to pinpoint exactly where the noise is coming from. Scientists located 12,000 spots around the earth that send out the radio waves, each is about the size of a large city.

So why don't we hear them? A charged atmospheric layer called the ionosphere blocks the radio waves, preventing them from reaching the earth. But that doesn't mean the waves aren't strong.-they are 10,000 times greater that the strongest military signal, that's enough to drown out every radio station on the planet.

Comments

Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know:
"What's going on in this video? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream.

(We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux)

Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?