JUL 15, 2019 4:12 PM PDT

The Science Behind Saturn's Peculiar Noises

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Saturn is one of the solar system’s most captivating planets. That said, it’s no surprise that scientists spent 15 years monitoring the distant world with the Cassini spacecraft until it ran out of fuel and plunged into the gas giant’s atmosphere in 2017.

The Cassini mission revealed a lot about Saturn, its rings, and its many moons, but one of the eeriest things we learned while studying Saturn was that it emits radio and plasma waves, which Cassini recorded and later beamed back to Earth for analysis.

In the case of the first audio bite, the sound was found to originate from Saturn’s aurora. As the Sun’s solar wind bombards the planet, its magnetic field redirects much of the charged particles toward the poles. The impacts of these particles emit electromagnetic radiation, and this is precisely what we hear in this audio track.

Cassini also got much closer to Saturn during specific encounters, and in some instances, the orbit became so right that it could detect radio waves produced by lightning inside some of the planet’s atmospheric storms. In some cases, Cassini came in contact with microscopic dust particles, which vaporized on impact; this also created a noise, reminiscent of static.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the sounds even came from Saturn’s moons themselves. In one instance, Cassini captured a signal from Enceladus, which was later found to be the ‘bending’ of its magnetic field.

Space is often thought of as a soundless vacuum, and while that’s mostly correct, it seems that some of the solar system’s largest worlds exhibit audible activity that might be worth studying for the sake of science.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Are There More Rogue Planets than Stars?
AUG 22, 2020
Are There More Rogue Planets than Stars?
Researchers from Ohio State University have theorized that there may be more rogue planets (planets that don't orbit ...
AUG 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
AUG 26, 2020
Is a Supernova to Blame for the Devonian Extinction Event?
Over the roughly 4.5 billion years of Earth's existence, there have been several periods were biodiversity has been near ...
AUG 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Space Rock May Contain Building Blocks for DNA
AUG 27, 2020
Space Rock May Contain Building Blocks for DNA
Researchers say that a space rock that landed in Costa Rica on April 23rd, 2019, came from an asteroid that exists as a ...
OCT 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
OCT 07, 2020
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
A team of astronomers has found a lone planet the size of Earth drifting through the Milky Way. Known as a ‘rogue ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
NOV 24, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will extend sea level monitoring
NOV 24, 2020
Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich will extend sea level monitoring
Days ago, a new satellite was launched from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the ...
Loading Comments...