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Pythagoras thought that the Earth was the center of the universe and we are surrounded by seven planets. Each planet, he said, gives off a particular musical note depending on its distance from the center. His followers called this "Musica Mundana," which usually translates as Music of the Spheres.
Pythagoras and his students believed that the chorus of sounds produced by the planets was so exquisite; we with our ordinary ears can't hear it. Extraordinary people, however, get passes.
According to Philo of Alexandria, Moses heard these chords when God gave him the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. St. Augustine believed we all hear them when we're about to die. These are the "mystic chords" that reveal the deep truth of the cosmos, that govern the seasons, life spans, the patterns of nature.
Sound in Space
Sound is basically pressure waves that are moving through some medium.
So the sound that we usually hear is going through the air. And it's transmitted as what are called "longitudinal waves." So they push back and forth kind of like a slinky if you push it back and forth. And what that does is in our ears it vibrates the eardrum. So you get no sound if you're in the vacuum of space, but you get sound if you're either in air or in a solid or liquid. How loud something is at a given distance, or what frequencies of the sound—whether high frequencies or low frequencies—get damped out or go away faster will depend on the medium you're in
Although space is a virtual vacuum, this does not mean there is no sound in space. Sound does exist as electromagnetic vibrations. The specially designed instruments on board the various space probes used Plasma Wave antenna to record the vibrations used here, all within the range of human hearing.
The Sun is personified in many mythologies: the Greeks called it Helios and the Romans called it Sol.
The Sun is, at present, about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium by mass everything else ("metals") amounts to less than 2%. This changes slowly over time as the Sun converts hydrogen to helium in its core.
The Sun is about 4.5 billion years old. Since its birth it has used up about half of the hydrogen in its core. It will continue to radiate "peacefully" for another 5 billion years or so (although its luminosity will approximately double in that time). But eventually it will run out of hydrogen fuel. It will then be forced into radical changes which, though commonplace by stellar standards, will result in the total destruction of the Earth (and probably the creation of a planetary nebula)Sun
Low-frequency vibrations from the Sun recorded by the ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft. This video shows how the atmospheric circulation inside the Sun causes very low frequency 'sound' to be produced.
Venus is one of the 5 planets visible with the unaided eye. This means that ancient people knew of Venus, and tracked its movements in the sky. Venus is the second planet away from the Sun and is the brightest object in the sky aside from the Moon and the Sun and it appears 10x brighter than the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. The clouds of Venus reflect the light of the sun like a giant mirror.
Venus was named after the Roman Goddess of Love (in Greek, Aphrodite). In ancient times, Venus was known to the Babylonians as Ishtar, the goddess of womanhood and love, so the planet has a long standing tradition of being associated with amore. Furthermore, the symbol for the planet Venus is the symbol for womanhood; a circle with a cross on the bottom. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks thought Venus was two separate bodies and named them The Morning Star and the Evening Star until in Hellenistic times, people figured out that it was only one object.
Cluster listens to the sounds of Earth
Scientists call this radio emission the Auroral Kilometric Radiation (AKR). It is generated high above the Earth, by the same shaft of solar particles that then causes an aurora to light the sky beneath. For decades, astronomers had assumed that these radio waves travelled out into space in an ever-widening cone, rather like light emitted from a torch. Thanks to Cluster, astronomers now know this is not true.
By analysing 12 000 separate bursts of AKR, a team of astronomers have determined that the AKR is beamed into space in a narrow plane. This is like placing a mask over the torch with just a small slit in the middle for light to escape.
In English, of course, our planet is Earth--but it's terra in Portuguese, dünya in Turkish, aarde in Dutch.
To better understand how our planet was regarded historically, it's important to remember that the world was generally regarded as merely the 'setting' of existence and not so much a specific place. In fact, the word 'world' itself didn't originally connote the planet at all, but rather the 'state of human existence'. Germanic in origin, 'world' is a fusion of two now obsolete words translating literally to "age of man."
In this worldview, the elements that made up existence were categorized quite broadly as the Classical elements of Water, Air, Fire, and Earth. Our term 'Earth', consequently, is derived from a much older word which meant simply 'the ground', or 'the opposite of the sea'--much the way the word 'earth' can be used today. These early words for earth, in turn, are references to the Norse goddess Jörð, mother to Thor.
Of course, throughout history, great thinkers in cultures and civilizations throughout the world theorized as to what form was made up of all this earth, with theories of a flat earth reigning supreme up until relatively recently. Early astronomers noted the presence of other planetary bodies and named them after their deities, though our planet kept its connection to the 'soil'--or in Latin terra.
In the fifteenth century, as intellectuals began to reconsider our planet's shape and position in the Universe, the word 'Earth' first came to be used in reference to the planetary body we know it as today and the term considered comparable to Mars, Venus, Saturn, and the other spheres of space.
But despite these early astronomers and mathematicians deducing that Earth was just a planet and not the whole of existence, the notion didn't truly hit home until some time later. Photographic evidence of our round, blue planet Earth didn't appear until the 1950s. Later photos, like "Earthrise" would confirm to the world what we all know now--that Earth is a fragile ecosystem in the cold, vastness of space.
How earth got its name
Earth (or the Earth) is the third planet from the Sun and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets. It is sometimes referred to as the World, the Blue Planet, or by its Latin name, Terra.[note 6]
Home to millions of species including humans, Earth is currently the only astronomical body where life is known to exist. The planet formed 4.54 billion years ago, and life appeared on its surface within one billion years. Earth's biosphere has significantly altered the atmosphere and other abiotic conditions on the planet, enabling the proliferation of aerobic organisms as well as the formation of the ozone layer which, together with Earth's magnetic field, blocks harmful solar radiation, permitting life on land. The physical properties of the Earth, as well as its geological history and orbit, have allowed life to persist during this period.
The planet is expected to continue supporting life for at least another 500 million years. Earth's outer surface is divided into several rigid segments, or tectonic plates, that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. About 71% of the surface is covered with salt water oceans, the remainder consisting of continents and islands which together have many lakes and other sources of water contributing to the hydrosphere.
Liquid water, necessary for all known life, is not known to exist in equilibrium on any other planet's surface.[note 7] Earth's poles are mostly covered with solid ice (Antarctic ice sheet) or sea ice (Arctic ice cap). The planet's interior remains active, with a thick layer of relatively solid mantle, a liquid outer core that generates a magnetic field, and a solid iron inner core.
Earth interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon. At present, Earth orbits the Sun once every 366.26 times it rotates about its own axis, which is equal to 365.26 solar days, or one sidereal year.[note 8] The Earth's axis of rotation is tilted 23.4° away from the perpendicular of its orbital plane, producing seasonal variations on the planet's surface with a period of one tropical year (365.24 solar days).
Earth's only known natural satellite, the Moon, which began orbiting it about 4.53 billion years ago, provides ocean tides, stabilizes the axial tilt and gradually slows the planet's rotation. Between approximately 3.8 billion and 4.1 billion years ago, numerous asteroid impacts during the Late Heavy Bombardment caused significant changes to the greater surface environment.
Ever heard Bach on Mars?
Andi Petculescu of the University of Louisiana is also curious about the sounds of other worlds. The two scientists simulated the sound of the music - say in a good crater - and then looked at the known characteristics of the atmosphere. Tim Leighton remarked that "We could position the audience in different positions in the crater and see how the sound changes. What's a good concert hall on each planet?" They chose the organ as the instrument, and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor as the piece to simulate. They tried simulating organ concerts on Mars and Venus. Finally, they recorded a 'simulcast' concert, the same music played on Earth Mars Venus and Titan.
QUESTION: Do you know if there is any noise on Mars?
ANSWER from Jim Murphy on June 4, 1997: This is really quite an interesting question. Yes, there is sound on Mars. Any gas, can (I think) transmit sound (a sound wave), and since Mars has an atmosphere, which is carbon dioxide gas, sound will travel there if produced.
Now, there are not any car horns, or loudly played boom boxes, or planes flying overhead on Mars, so there are not the typical noise makers present on Mars which we are accustomed to here on Earth. However, the wind blowing along the surface would likely produce sounds as it flows around objects (rocks, sand dunes) and lifts small dust particles from the ground which might generate a sound when they hit back onto the surface.
Mars is named after, well… Mars, the Roman god of War; also known as Ares in Greek mythology. It’s believed that ancient peoples associated Mars with bloodshed and war because of its red color – of course, the red color comes from iron oxide (rust), and not blood.
In fact, even before the Greeks and Romans, people associated Mars with war and violence. The ancient Babylonians called it Nergal, after their deity of fire, war and destruction. The symbol for Mars is the same as the astrological symbol for Mars: a circle with an arrow pointing out of its upper right-hand corner; this represents Mars shield and spear. This is also the chemical symbol for the element iron, and the symbol used to describe the male gender.
One approach scientists use to make sense of the data from instruments is to make pictures and graphs to represent the data. This is called "data visualization". Some types of data, especially radio signals, are very similar in many ways to sound. The power of a radio signal is analogous to the volume of a sound. The radio signal also varies in terms of the frequency and wavelength of the radio waves, which is like the variation in pitch of sound waves. So scientists sometimes translate radio signals into sound to better understand the signals. This approach is called "Data Sonification" links to listen to the Jupiter mission
Jupiter got its name for the Roman God of mythology; the leader of all the gods; The Roman equivalent of Zeus. The planet has been known since Babylonian times when they thought of it as their god Marduk.
Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto are the four largest moons of Jupiter. Ganymede is larger than Mercury, and if it wasn’t a satellite of Jupiter, it would be a planet in its own right. All four of these moons were named after Jupiter’s lovers.
Things that are like Jupiter in nature are referred to as Jovian; such as the four Jovian planets (Gas Giants). Jovian is also the root of the world jovial, meaning happy, an emotion attributed to the planet Jupiter. Jupiter
Saturn is named after the god Saturnus, the god of agriculture and harvest.
According to the ancient Romans, Saturn was said to carry a sickle in his left hand and a bundle of wheat in his right hand. He was the son of Helen, or Hel. Saturn’s wife was Ops (the equivalent of Rhea), and he was the father of Ceres, Jupiter and Veritas – as well as a few others.
It wasn’t until 1610 that Galileo Galilei first pointed his crude telescope and learned that Saturn actually had rings. Of course, Galileo didn’t realize what he was looking at when he first observed Saturn. He thought the planet had two huge moons orbiting very close to the planet. It wasn’t until 1655, when Christiaan Huygens pointed his much more powerful telescope at Saturn that it was possible to distinguish that the planet had rings.
NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is hit by millions of dust particles as it goes through a gap in Saturn's icy rings. Although the ring gaps appear empty, they are not. The spacecraft ploughed through these dust particles at a speed of about 70 000 kilometres per hour! These impacts, converted into audible sounds, resemble hail hitting a tin roof.
Sounds of Enceladus
The NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens spacecraft detected an atmosphere on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus. Cassini's MAG magnetometer instrument observed 'ion cyclotron' waves in the vicinity of the moon. These waves are organised fluctuations in the magnetic field that provide information on what electrically charged molecules (ions) are present. This audio file shows the power of these waves near Enceladus
The origin of Saturn's rings is a mystery. The rings are an enormous, complex structure. From edge-to-edge, the ring system would not even fit in the distance between Earth and the Moon. The seven main rings are labeled in the order they were discovered. From the planet outward, they are D, C, B, A, F, G and E.
"The structure of those remarkable rings is a sight to behold. All ring features appear to be populated by a broad range of particle sizes that extend to many meters in diameter at the upper end," said Dr. Essam Marouf, Cassini radio science team member and professor of electrical engineering, San Jose State University, San Jose, Calif.
Marouf said that at the lower end, particles of about 5 centimeters (roughly 2 inches) in diameter or less seem to be scarce in ring B and inner ring A. In rings C and outer ring A, particles of less than about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter seem to be abundant.
Cassini found that the inner and outer parts of ring B contain rings that are hundreds of kilometers wide (hundreds of miles) and vary greatly in the amount of material they contain. A thick, 5,000-kilometer-wide (3,100-mile) core contains several bands with ring material that is nearly four times as dense as that of ring A and nearly 20 times as dense as that of ring C.
The dramatically varying structure of ring B is in sharp contrast to the relatively flat structure of ring A or the gentle, wavy structure of ring C, where many dense, narrow and sharp-edged ringlets permeate its outer part.
Cassini also detected more than 40 wavy features called "density waves" in ring A, many near its outer region, close to the moons orbiting just outside the ring. The density wave observations will tell more about the ring surface mass density, its vertical thickness and other physical properties.
"A marvelous array of waves, caused by gravitational interactions with nearby moons, has been uncovered throughout ring A," said Marouf. "We also see a major density wave in the dense ring B. Some of these waves have been seen in Voyager and other Cassini observations, but not in this large number and not with this exceptional clarity."
Cassini conducted this first radio occultation observation of Saturn's rings, atmosphere and ionosphere on May 3, 2005. An occultation means that if you watch Cassini from Earth, Cassini would appear occulted, or hidden, behind the rings. During a radio occultation, Cassini sends a radio signal from the spacecraft through the rings to Earth. Scientists then watch how the strength of the radio signal is affected as the signal passes through ring material. The denser a ring is, the weaker the signal received. The experiment helps scientists map the distribution of the amount of ring material and determine the ring particle sizes.
Uranus is named after the ancient Greek god of the sky, who was the father of Kronos (Saturn in Roman mythology). Most of the other planets got their names thousands of years ago, but Uranus was discovered just a few hundred years ago – William Herschel found it on March 13, 1781.
As he lived in England, Herschel originally wanted to name Uranus after his patron, King George III. He wanted to call it Georgium Sidus (George’s Star), or the Georgian Planet. Although this was a popular name, the international astronomy community didn’t think much of it, and wanted to follow the historical precedent of naming the planets after ancient Greek and Roman gods.
And so, Uranus was named after father of Saturn. There were a few holdouts, but the planet was universally accepted by 1850.
The rings were discovered from the Earth in 1977 when Uranus occulted (passed in front of) a star and it was noticed that there were dips in the brightness of the star before and after it passed behind the body of Uranus.
This data suggested that Uranus was surrounded by at least 5 rings. Four more rings were suggested by subsequent occultation measurements from the Earth, and 2 additional ones were found by Voyager 2, bringing the total to 11.
Most of the rings are not quite circular, and most are not exactly in the plane of the equator. The rings vary in brightness with angle around the moon, apparently because they vary in width with angle.
The rings are very narrow (some only a few kilometers across) and no material can be detected in the regions between the rings. It is speculated that this stability of the narrow rings may be due to small "shepherding satellites", as discussed in conjunction with Saturn's rings.
The brightest ring is termed the Epsilon ring. Voyager 2 found two small shepherd moons for it, one just inside and one just outside (adjacent image (Ref); the white dots inside the yellow circles). They appear to be about 20-30 km in diameter, and have been named Ophelia and Cordelia.
Shortly after its discovery, Neptune was only referred to as “the planet exterior to Uranus” or as “Le Verrier’s planet”. The first suggestion for a name came from Johann Galle, who proposed the name Janus. Another proposal was Oceanus. Urbain Le Verrier, who discovered the planet, claimed the right to name his discovery: Neptune. Soon Neptune became the internationally accepted name.
In roman mythology, Neptune was the god of the sea. The demand for a mythological name seemed to be in keeping with the nomenclature of the other planets, all of which, except for Earth, were named for Greek and Roman mythology. Most languages today use some variant of the name “Neptune” for the planet.
Now that you know how the planet was named, how about some facts about the planet itself. Size wise, the planet has an equatorial radius 24,764 km, a polar radius of 24,341 km, and a surface area of 7.6408×10,sup>9km2. It has a volume of 6.254×1013km3, a mass of 1.0243×1026kg, and a mean density of 1.638 g/cm3. Its atmosphere is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium along with traces of hydrocarbons and nitrogen. It also contains a high proportion of ices like: water, ammonia, and methane.
Astronomers occasionally categorize Neptune as an ice giant. The interior of Neptune is primarily composed of ices and rock. Traces of methane in the outermost regions account for the planet’s blue appearance.
Neptune’s atmosphere is notable for its active and visible weather patterns. These weather patterns are driven by the strongest sustained winds of any planet in the Solar System, with recorded wind speeds as high as 2,100 km/h.Because of its great distance from the Sun, Neptune’s outer atmosphere is one of the coldest places in the Solar System, with temperatures at its cloud tops approaching ?218°C. Temperatures at the planet’s center are approximately 5,000°C. Neptune is one of the most interesting planets in our solar system.
Pluto orbits beyond the orbit of Neptune (usually). It is much smaller than any of the official planets and now classified as a "dwarf planet". Pluto is smaller than seven of the solar system's moons (the Moon, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan and Triton).
In Roman mythology, Pluto (Greek: Hades) is the god of the underworld. The planet received this name (after many other suggestions) perhaps because it's so far from the Sun that it is in perpetual darkness and perhaps because "PL" are the initials of Percival Lowell.
Pluto was discovered in 1930 by a fortunate accident. Calculations which later turned out to be in error had predicted a planet beyond Neptune, based on the motions of Uranus and Neptune. Not knowing of the error, Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Arizona did a very careful sky survey which turned up Pluto anyway.
The Roman god Mercury was the son of Maia Maiestas and Jupiter in Roman mythology, and most of his aspects were based on the Greek god Hermes.
According to mythology, Mercury was the swiftest of the gods, and the one that merchants prayed to for success in their commercial transactions.
Hermes was known as the messenger of the gods in Greek mythology. This is appropriate since Mercury is the innermost planet in the Solar System, and appears to move quickly from night to night. Since Mercury was visible with the unaided eye, most of the ancient cultures had their own name for Mercury. The ancient Babylonians called the planet Napu, after a god in their mythology.
The ancient Greeks actually thought that Mercury was two planets, and they called it Apollo when it was visible in the morning sky, and Hermes when it was seen after sunset. But in the 4th century BCE, ancient astronomers realized that the two objects were one and the same, and stuck with Hermes; becoming Mercury with the Romans.
And that’s how Mercury got its name.
Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars that emit a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing towards the Earth. This is called the lighthouse effect and gives rise to the pulsed nature that gives pulsars their name. Because neutron stars are very dense objects, the rotation period and thus the interval between observed pulses is very regular. For some pulsars, the regularity of pulsation is as precise as an atomic clock. The observed periods of their pulses range from 1.4 milliseconds to 8.5 seconds. A few pulsars are known to have planets orbiting them, such as PSR B1257+12. Werner Becker of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics said in 2006, "The theory of how pulsars emit their radiation is still in its infancy, even after nearly forty years of work."
The Crab Pulsar(PSR B0531+21) is a relatively young neutron star. The star is the central star in the Crab Nebula, a remnant of the supernova SN 1054, which was widely observed on Earth in the year 1054. Discovered in 1968, the pulsar was the first to be connected with a supernova remnant
A Black Hole is a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass will deform spacetime to form a black hole. Around a black hole there is an undetectable surface called an event horizon that marks the point of no return. It is called "black" because it absorbs all the light that hits the horizon, reflecting nothing, just like a perfect black body in thermodynamics. Quantum mechanics predicts that black holes emit radiation like a black body with a finite temperature. This temperature is inversely proportional to the mass of the black hole, making it difficult to observe this radiation for black holes of stellar mass or greater.
A 'whistler' is audibly emitted in the atmosphere. Whistlers were first occasionally heard at the end of the 19th century on long-distance telephone lines. They are electromagnetic emissions produced in the atmosphere, but their cause is still partly unclear. They originate from thunderstorms or meteorites, or even after earthquakes. Once produced, the sounds travel along closed magnetic field lines from one hemisphere to the other. Studying them can yield information about the Earth's atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere up to very long distances. This one is a lightning strike recorded by Cluster (courtesy of Prof. D. Gurnett, University of Iowa).
Dawn in Space
Dawn chorus' signals detected by ESA Cluster’s WBD (Wide Band Data) instrument. High-energy electrons get trapped in the Earth’s radiation belts. When they are accelerated by the electromagnetic field, they produce this familiar sound. With the help of missions studying particles in space like the four Cluster spacecraft, ESA scientists are investigating how the electrons are accelerated and how the sound like the 'dawn chorus' of birds is created.
Wailing of the Leonids
Tracks left behind by the November 2000 Leonids shower, as detected by ESA scientists. Each time a meteor crosses the atmosphere, it leaves behind a short trail of ionised particles. This trail reflects high-frequency radio signals from stations around the world for just a few seconds. The motion of the meteor trail due to the upper atmosphere winds changes the frequency of the reflected signal (Doppler effect). You 'hear' the trail as it is blown around by the winds before it is eventually dispersed.
The low frequency static like noise. corresponds to background x-ray emissions. The "skips" are X-ray/Infrared jets emissions escaping from the black hole.
The High pitched whistling noises are the quasi-periodic (QSP) Oscillations of the escaping X-rays.
Originally posted by Wookiep
Wow excellent thread, S&F!
At the beginning of the "Sounds of Space" video, I could have swore I was hearing the beginning of the Star Trek theme song, lol.
Yeah! another good question is, "How does gravity escape a black hole?" Both questions contradict what we think we know about black holes.
Originally posted by BlackPoison94
This is ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!
I am in love with this thread.
One question though; how does sound escape from a black hole?