Do Auroras Really Make Sounds? page all

KOMPAS.com – Many people yearn to see the aurora or polar light Beautiful.

However, the natives of the north pole also often talk about strange sounds that appear from the sky.

Launch Kompas.com, 10 July 2012, aurora sound can be in the form of applause, gurgling, to noise.

Is it true that the aurora also makes sound?

Also read: Get to know Sirius, the Brightest Star in the Night Sky

Researcher’s Explanation

Researcher from the Research Center for Space Sciences – Aviation and Space Research Organization BRIN Andi Princeg said the sound produced by the aurora did exist but was of an infrasound type.

“The frequency produced by the aurora is actually the Schumann resonance whose basic frequency is 7.83 Hz, which is included in infrasound,” Andi said in his statement. Kompas.com, Thursday (13/1/2022).

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So, said Andi, a special tool is needed to hear the sound produced by the aurora.

There are several harmonics at the Schumann resonance, such as 20.25 Hz (third harmonic), 26.41 Hz (fourth harmonic) and 32.45 Hz (fifth harmonic) that are included in audiosonic.

Although detectable, the amplitude is not as large as the fundamental frequency, so it is quite weak.

Aurora is a natural phenomenon in the form of light that looks like dancing in the night sky.

Auroras often appear in polar regions and high latitudes. The aurora seen in the Arctic Circle is called aurora borealis, while those in the circumference of the south pole are called aurora australis.

Also read: Get to know Canopus, the Second Brightest Star in the Night Sky

aurora sound

Launch National Geographic, June 27, 2016, one of the leading theories about auroral noise says that tree needles or pine cones may be involved in creating the auroral sounds.

During a geomagnetic storm, the atmosphere can withstand very high electric fields, creating a charge difference between the air and objects on the ground.

Anything pointy, such as leaves and pine cones, will offer the perfect surface for an electrical discharge and can make a cracking sound.

In 2012, Aalto University researcher Unto K. Laine was able to prove that the sound of the aurora came from the treetops (70 meters above the earth’s surface) at the time of the most intense performance.

The key is something called the inversion layer, the region of the atmosphere where the air temperature increases with altitude, not the usual decrease.

Such coatings can develop after a calm, sunny day, according to Laine.

After sunset, warmer air rises while the surface cools, and continued calm conditions mean the two temperature regions don’t mix.

According to Laine and his team, this inversion layer then acts like a cover, trapping negative electrical charges in the lower regions and positive charges in the air above.

When a geomagnetic storm hits the earth, the lid breaks and the charge is released, creating strange noises.

This theory agrees with the team’s previous observations. The team from the Finnish Meteorological Institute showed that 60 of the loudest recorded sounds came from about 75 meters above the ground. It was the same height as a regular inversion layer.

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Research on aurora sounds

Launch CNN, April 2, 2021, Laine has spent decades recording sound using a triple microphone setup and a VLF (very low frequency) loop antenna connected to a four-channel digital recorder.

Meanwhile Donald Hampton, a research professor at the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks who studies the physics of space and auroras and the aurora’s interaction with the upper atmosphere, is skeptical of the sound of the aurora.

“There have been anecdotal reports over the years of people hearing a whooshing or crackling sound. But if you think about it physically, there’s no way you’re actually getting that sound from the aurora itself,” Hampton said.

He says that’s because the northern lights occur between 60 and 100 miles above the Earth’s surface and it takes sound a few seconds to travel a mile.

Even so, Hampton doesn’t dismiss the theory that the northern lights could be responsible for the sounds people claim to hear.

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