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Ian Hamilton, North Battleford's mayor, says he can't explain it. "What I experienced was a scraping sound, like a snowplow."
Mike Halstead, a North Battleford resident, was lying in bed when his phone rang. Calls and text messages came in from his friends, each reporting strange noises. "That's when the goose bumps got me and I thought ‘that's awfully strange'.
Now, the aurora is 50 miles above us, in the upper atmosphere. That’s 264 000 feet. Which means it has to travel through 75 times the amount of atmosphere to reach us. The atmosphere up there is thinner, which makes it even harder for sound to propagate (since sound is made of pressure waves which need something to travel through) down to us. The collision of those particles would have to be ridiculously loud.
Character of the sounds
There are no tape recordings available so we should try to imagine the sounds from descriptions of eyewitnesses. Here aer some witness reports
- It could compare to the sound of a radio left on a station that has gone off the air
- a faint crackling or light rustle
- A definite hissing sound
- Like balled cigarette pack cellophane crinkled next to ear.
- crackling, rustling sound
- a small animal scampering in grass or leaves
- someone standing a good distance away ... with a LARGE, very flexible sheet of metal ... flexing [it] back and forth ... Low. Slow. wubble/wrang/wubble/wub ... a secret sound
- sizzling, popping, swishing, snapping, whooshing
- low "hissing"
- soft crackles, tiny pops, and almost static electricity like sounds
- Electric silk. Soft, rippling, crackly
An auroral chorus is a series of chirps, whistles, and quasi-musical sounds in predominantly rising tones created by geomagnetic storms also responsible for the auroras. The sounds last approximately 0.1-1.0 seconds. Other auroral sounds includes hissing, swishing, rustling and cracking. The electromagnetic waves are a type of Natural radio waves, vibrations of electric and magnetic energy occurring at the same frequency as sound.
Some believe that it is probable that the auroral chorus doesn't originate at the point of aurorae but rather is transformed from slight wave ripples in the air into audible sound waves by objects closer to the observer. There remains a question of whether real sound waves exist or if somehow electromagnetic waves just play tricks on our ears.
If you’re like me and hard of auroral hearing, a small VLF radio receiver will do the job nicely. This handheld device converts very low frequency radio waves produced from the interaction of the solar electrons and protons with the Earth’s magnetic field into sounds you can listen to with a pair of headphones.
In conclusion, I am very hard pressed to buy the fact that the auroral sounds or so called solar sounds are amplified millions or times so that it sounds like a fog horn, from typical crackles, hissing and pops. Maybe some ATS’ers can better put the pieces together, because I sure can’t. And the fact that many ATS’ers are hearing these sounds means something is transpiring.