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The Sound Of A Shooting Star

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posted on Aug, 12 2009 @ 02:08 PM
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I want to discuss an event that I experienced a few days ago.

I was in my backyard at night getting some fresh air and doing some sky watching and star gazing. Some odd reason the environment sounds for that night were very low, and it was more quiet than normal. One of the most quiet nights I have ever experienced. It might have been at 1 or 2 in the morning.

While I was facing towards the North I witnessed a meteor (a.k.a. shooting star) streak across the sky. The meteor was probably visible for a full second of time, maybe slightly longer. Then, a few seconds after I saw the meteor (short delay) I hear a sound....

zzzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaaaaaapp!

It sounded exactly like an electric arc!

The sound seemed to come from the sky, in the exact direction of the meteor. Also the time length of the sound matched the length of time the meteor was visible. There is no doubt in my mind that the meteor is what made the sound.

I figured the short delay between the meteors appearance, and the sound, was because of the speed of sound and the distance from me. It was a really cool moment. Ive never heard a sound from a meteor before. I swear, it sounded exactly like an electric arc, or electric zap sound. My first thought was "electrical??".

However, it got me to think about WHY, and HOW, it made the sound. Ive always wondered why meteors appear bright white, and how they burn up so quickly just by so called "friction of air". I always thought there had to be something more going on.

I was thinking that maybe the meteor was made of a conductive material, and the magnetic field of Earth induced an electric current into the meteor as it zipped across the sky at extreme speeds. At that point it pretty much turned into a light bulb filament, which are known to make a buzzing sound, or zap sound. Then I figured that is why the meteor burns up so quick, just like a horrible light bulb filament would burn up quickly with excessive amounts of electric current forced through them. They burn from the inside out, and not the outside in. That also would explain the brightness of it.

I think my theory is correct, so I did some research about the sound of a meteor just before making this post and found this:

www.reference.com...



Numerous people have over the years reported sounds being heard while bright meteors flared overhead. This would seem impossible, given the relatively slow speed of sound. Any sound generated by a meteor in the upper atmosphere, such as a sonic boom, should not be heard until many seconds after the meteor disappeared. However, in certain instances, for example during the Leonid meteor shower of 2001, several people reported sounds described as "crackling", "swishing", or "hissing occurring at the same instant as a meteor flare. Similar sounds have also been reported during intense displays of Earth's auroras.
Many investigators believe the sounds to be imaginary — essentially sound effects added by the mind to go along with a light show. However, the persistence and consistency of the reports have caused others to wonder. Sound recordings made under controlled conditions in Mongolia in 1998 by a team led by Slaven Garaj, a physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne, support the contention that the sounds are real.

How these sounds could be generated, assuming they are in fact real, remains something of a mystery. It has been hypothesized that the turbulent ionized wake of a meteor interacts with the magnetic field of the Earth, generating pulses of radio waves. As the trail dissipates, megawatts of electromagnetic energy could be released, with a peak in the power spectrum at audio frequencies. Physical vibrations induced by the electromagnetic impulses would then be heard if they are powerful enough to make grasses, plants, eyeglass frames, and other conductive materials vibrate. This proposed mechanism, although proven to be plausible by laboratory work, remains unsupported by corresponding measurements in the field.


I KNOW the sound came from the meteor, there is no mistaking it, so now I need to explain it. The article above says the reason the sounds are made are still a mystery, but I believe my theory is correct, and there is no mystery to me. If I am correct, who do I tell?

It's a pretty simple theory. A conductive material moving super fast over a magnet (Earth) which induces an electric current inside of the conductive material turning it into a super bright light bulb, and the electricity vibrates the object creating a zap or buzz sound (electric arc sound).

So I was just curious. Has anyone ever heard the sound of a shooting star before? Is there more investigation or information about how and why shooting stars REALLY burn up? Why they are so bright? Is there any evidence that shows objects getting induced electric currents in them while entering the atmosphere?

I think I am on to something. It might lead to the invention of a better method to protect the space shuttle from burning on entry.

What do you think / know?




posted on Aug, 12 2009 @ 02:38 PM
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Its plausible considering most meteors are made of almost solid iron which we all know is very reactive.

I too have heard sound from a meteor but only one that exploded. It was rather big and lasted maybe 2 seconds or more until it eventually exploded in the atmosphere. I heard the sound of the explosion but not the meteor.

Your hypothesis is sound, however it would be hard to prove.

The only way you could really prove it is to make a big iron ball and drop it from space to see how it makes a sound. Which would be pretty cool since you could put instruments in the core to take measurements of other outside variables.

Actually sounds like a fun experiment, however it will probably never be done.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 09:30 PM
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reply to post by ALLis0NE
 


I can't believe this thread didn't get any more traction than it did. this is good stuff.

I believe you are right. It is my belief that due to charge differential, any body that approaches our planets ionosphere will begin creating electrical displays.

If you look at the "Tether Incident", you will see that the problem is electrical arcing shorted out the satellite and snapped the tether. Charge differential along the miles long tether far exceeded what was expected, and created a much larger current than expected.

I am a proponent of the Plasma Cosmology model. Look into it. What you describe is predicted by the PC model.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 09:53 PM
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Anyone that has ever had a bullet go over their heads can tell you that they often make a crackle or sizzle. Now following that logic, a meteor, larger than a bullet and moving much faster would have a crackling sound much like an electrical arc.
It's the heat of the object reacting with the air/humidity???
Good observations.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 10:11 PM
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Great post - Star and Flag for you!


I've heard a few meteors too. One of the crackling variety and a couple of hissers. C.H.U.D is our resident expert on meteors, I'll U2U him and point him towards your thread, hopefully he'll be able to add something.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 12:24 AM
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Ive never heard a "zap" like noise and ive seen ALOT of shooting stars over the past years. The only sounds ive heard, and its only been twice that i hard any sound.

One was a short lived burst of sound, for approx. .5 seconds, adn it sounded like someone put a blow torch up to my ear.

and the 2nd time it was further away and sounded more like a roaring fire, almost like a blacksmiths fire, you know how fire gets wooshing when air is forced into the fire. i forget the terminology but if youve ever heard a super strong fire, you know the sound.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 12:27 AM
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Originally posted by ALLis0NE
I think my theory is correct, so I did some research about the sound of a meteor just before making this post and found this:

www.reference.com...


This proposed mechanism, although proven to be plausible by laboratory work, remains unsupported by corresponding measurements in the field.


I KNOW the sound came from the meteor, there is no mistaking it, so now I need to explain it. The article above says the reason the sounds are made are still a mystery, but I believe my theory is correct, and there is no mystery to me. If I am correct, who do I tell?


I see two steps necessary:

1. Since measurements in the field have been inconclusive, more conclusive measurements in the field are needed to confirm the sound really is coming from the meteors, say during a meteor shower. It seems possible that this happens though it apparently hasn't really been conclusively confirmed.

2. The next step after being armed with recordings that are confirmed to be the sounds that meteors make, would be to attempt laboratory experiments to try to duplicate those sounds and see how closely they match. I think several possible theories/explanations for sound producing mechanisms, including your theory, need to be tested. The test equipment might need to be specialized, for example you might need something like a rail gun firing objects into a long rarefied atmosphere chamber to simulate/duplicate upper atmosphere conditions and object velocities.

I see strong parallels between arc welding and a meteor, because in both cases, matter is being converted into plasma and then the plasma is dissipated.

My own experience with arc welding is that I can hear a noise made by the arc welder. I know this sound exists but I'm not certain of the exact mechanisms that cause the plasma in arc welding to make noise. Is the sound originating from matter being converted into plasma? Or from the plasma dissipating into the atmosphere? And what are the exact mechanisms creating the sound? I think your answers lie along this line of questioning.

I don't know, it could be either or both the matter to plasma conversion or the plasma dissipation. Basically a meteor is also being converted into plasma when it "burns up", the difference from an arc welder is that it's kinetic energy rather than electrical energy which is converting the matter to plasma.

So I don't think the noise generated by my arc welder requires any interaction with the Earth's magnetic field, and likewise I would assume that similarly, the noise coming from a meteor's plasma likewise does not have to have any interaction with the Earth's magnetic field to produce noise, and in fact the Earth's magnetic field is relatively weak so I wouldn't expect that to be a contributing factor, though I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 08:59 PM
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Originally posted by ALLis0NE
However, it got me to think about WHY, and HOW, it made the sound.


It's not entierly understood, but "electrophonic sounds" made by meteors are thought to be due to VLF emissions from the meteoroid It's just another part of the electro-magnetic spectrum, and many frequencies are generated by meteoroids as well as visible light and radio emmissions.

Here is a bit more reading, and I'm sure if you google the correct term you can find some other articles and papers on it.

Electrophonic Sounds from Bolides
If the above link does not work, use this one and pull it up from webarchive.org: web.archive.org...

Listening to Leonids



Originally posted by ALLis0NE
Ive always wondered why meteors appear bright white, and how they burn up so quickly just by so called "friction of air". I always thought there had to be something more going on.


Well technically it's not "friction of air", there is quite alot more to it than that, and a few process are involved. It's similar to the way an energy saving bulb works, in that the electrons within atoms are bosted to higher energy states (from an input of external energy, in this case kinetic), and when they flip back to their lower energy states, a photon of light of a certain wavelength is emmitted depending on the element involved.

As air molecules slam into the metoroid, which can be travelling at anywhere between about 11km/s and 72km/s, which is quite fast if you think about it for a moment, and it strips away the atoms of the meteoroid in a process called ablation, resulting in a glowing "plasma soup" of ionized atmosphere and meteoroid.

Actually most of the light generated from a meteoroid's passage through our atmosphere is not generated by the meteoroid itself, but by a small area directly infront where air (glowing plasma) is compressed - see here for a simple explanation:
Meteors and Meteor Showers: The Science


Also, meteors are actually not pure while, although the vast majority appear that way, since the vast majority are not very bright, and below a certain threshold, the eye does not detect color very well. If you spend a significant amount of time observing meteors, you will find that a significant porrtion of the brighter meteors will appear to be different colors, and often the colors are intense and vivid.

All meteors have spectral peaks which give away what the meteor is composed of as well as the composition of the atmosphere. Some reading can be found here.

Also when a meteor starts to get very bright it may just default to white, since the eyes sensitivity to individual spectral peaks is overwhelmed by over all light intensity. Often though, various colors are seen and described in bright meteors - two people standing side by side may describe different colors.


Originally posted by ALLis0NE
So I was just curious. Has anyone ever heard the sound of a shooting star before?


Yes. A few on here have, and I have also. It's a rare phenomena, but there are repots of it from time to time, and it's well documented.


Originally posted by ALLis0NE
Is there more investigation or information about how and why shooting stars REALLY burn up?


This is a good place to start.

These links should also have the answers to any other questions you may have, and if you click on my profile, and check out my meteor related posts you will find many more:
METEOROBS
The International Meteor Organization



Originally posted by ALLis0NE
Is there any evidence that shows objects getting induced electric currents in them while entering the atmosphere?


I'm sure that charge and charged particles are involved... exactly what role they play and how much of a part they play I'm not sure (in the case of electrophonic sounds), but if you post a question to one of the above links I posted above, you may get an answer.



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