The scary sound of Earth’s magnetic field recorded by researchers - here's how it sounds

"The project has certainly been a rewarding exercise in bringing art and science together."
Nergis Firtina
Geomagnetic field around planet Earth in space
Geomagnetic field around planet Earth in space


The magnetic signals from the ESA's Swarm satellite project were turned into sound by researchers at the Technical University of Denmark. The outcome is quite thrilling for something that is supposed to protect us.

“The team used data from ESA’s Swarm satellites and other sources and used these magnetic signals to manipulate and control a sonic representation of the core field. The project has certainly been a rewarding exercise in bringing art and science together,” musician and project supporter Klaus Nielsen, from the Technical University of Denmark, explained the project in the ESA's release.

Here's how it sounds:

How did they manage it?

The sophisticated and dynamic bubble of the Earth's magnetic field shields us from solar wind-borne charged particles and cosmic radiation. Some of the energy from these particle collisions is converted into the characteristic green-blue light of the aurora borealis, which may occasionally be observed from high northern latitudes when these particles strike atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, primarily oxygen and nitrogen.

While the Sun's charged particles colliding with Earth's magnetic field can be seen in the aurora borealis, it can be difficult to actually hear the Earth's magnetic field or its interaction with solar winds.

The ocean of superheated, spinning liquid iron that makes up our outer core, located around 3000 km beneath our feet, is primarily responsible for producing our magnetic field.

“We gained access to a very interesting sound system consisting of over 30 loudspeakers dug into the ground at the Solbjerg Square in Copenhagen," he also added.

“We have set it up so that each speaker represents a different location on Earth and demonstrates how our magnetic field has fluctuated over the last 100 000 years. Throughout this week, visitors will be able to hear the amazing rumble of our magnetic field – so if you are in Copenhagen, come along and check out this unique opportunity."

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ESA's Swarm satellites

ESA's trio of Swarm satellites, launched in 2013, are being used to understand precisely how our magnetic field is created by carefully detecting magnetic signals that originate not just from Earth's core but also the mantle, crust, and oceans, as well as the ionosphere and magnetosphere. Swarm is also revealing fresh information about the weather in orbit.

Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie are the three satellites that make up the Swarm constellation. They are positioned in two separate polar orbits, with two flying side by side at the height of 280 miles (450 kilometers) and the third at the height of 330 miles ( 530 kilometers). The launch was postponed and moved to the Russian Plesetsk Cosmodrome on November 22, 2013. ESA hired Astrium to design and construct the three orbiters, and Eurockot handled the launch operations.

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