Here's What the Space Around Earth Sounds Like

One of NASA's newest missions has recorded the radio waves coming from our magnetosphere. Musicians: Sample away.

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A graphic of Earth's twin rings of plasma known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts in our planet's magnetosphere (NASA)

Surrounding our planet are rings of plasma, part of Earth's magnetosphere, which are pulsing with radio waves. Those waves are not audible to the human ear alone, but radio antennae can pick them up, and that's just what an instrument -- the Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science (EMFISIS) -- on NASA's recently launched Radiation Belt Storm Probes has done.

The noises, often picked up here on Earth by ham-radio operators, are called Earth's "chorus" as they are reminiscent of a chorus of birds chirping in the early morning. So here's your planet, singing its song into space. Musicians: Sample away.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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