Planets make sounds. Did you know this? And I’m not just talking about sounds like volcano eruptions and the crashing of waves, I’m talking about sounds that register on a cosmic scale. The sounds of something called their “Aurora Mechanisms”.

The aurora mechanism are probably known to most as those lovely lights at northern and southern latitudes of our planet. The crazy dance of color and light, high in the sky. But those auroras aren’t unique to earth. They exist in some form on every planet in our solar system and are the result of particles ejected from the sun, called solar winds, colliding with the magnetic field of a planet. The particles excite elements in the atmosphere, creating ions. Those ions react and produce photons, along with high frequency plasma emissions – super radio waves, essentially.

The Cassini space craft passed within several hundred million miles of Saturn back in 2002, and was able to make a recording of those super radio waves using something called the Cassini Radio and Plasma Wave Science (RPWS) device. Basically, it the RPWS is a radio receiver that records plasma emissions instead of slower radio waves. NASA was surprised to find that Saturn was exceptionally noisy, emitting sounds that would seem to imply that Saturn’s aurora mechanisms were numerous and mobile.

Would you like to hear what Saturn sounds like when they downshift the plasma frequency into radio waves and then compress 27 minutes of variance down to roughly 70 seconds?

(Don’t worry about any of that, think of it as you would the color retouching they do on those x-ray photographs of far-off nebulae.)

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That right, folks. Saturn sounds like the score to the 1956 scifi classic, The Forbidden Planet.

There is no part of me that doesn’t take comfort from that.

This has been your Friday Frequency.

(…wait, you all knew those NASA photos of things in space don’t really look like that, right?)