Although essential to life on Earth, the magnetic field of our planet is not something we can see per se or hear. The earth’s magnetic field is a complex and dynamic bubble which protects us from cosmic radiation and charged particles attracted by the powerful winds that blow from the Sun.
When these particles collide with the atoms and molecules of our atmosphere, mainly with oxygen and nitrogen in its upper layers, some of the energy from the collisions is transformed into the typical and strange blue-green lights of the northern Lights. and yesWhile the Northern Lights provide a visual display of how our magnetic field works, hearing how it interacts with other particles or the solar wind itself is another matter entirely.
The Earth’s immense magnetic field is largely generated by an ocean of liquid iron, the outer core of our planet, located some 3,000 kilometers below our feet, and which acts similarly to what a dynamo does in the wheel of a bicycle, in which the rotational movement produces electric currents which, at this opportunity, in turn generate an ever-changing magnetic field.
To study this magnetic field, the European Space Agency launched in 2013 the trio of satellites swarm with the aim of accurately measuring not only the magnetic signals originating from the Earth’s core, but also from the mantle, the Earth’s crust, the oceans, the ionosphere and the magnetosphere.
Art and science together
This data was precisely what a team of musicians and scientists from the Technical University of Denmark used to interpret the sound of the Earth’s magnetic field to human ears. “A project that has undoubtedly been a rewarding exercise in uniting art and science,” says Klaus Nielsenone of the team members.
It may sound like a nightmare, but surprisingly, this audio clip depicts the magnetic field generated by the Earth’s core and its interaction with a solar storm.
“The rumble of the Earth’s magnetic field is accompanied by a depiction of a geomagnetic storm resulting from a solar flare on November 3, 2011, and it actually sounds quite scary,” adds Nielsen.
The intention, of course, is not to scare people, but rather a special way of reminding us that the magnetic field exists and, although its noise is a little disconcerting, the existence of life on Earth in depends.
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