The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

State, national, world

December 4, 2012

Angry birds in space? Cosmic radio waves mimic chirping of ’alien birds’

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Twin spacecraft have captured the clearest sounds yet from Earth’s radiation belts — and they mimic the chirping of birds.

Online: Recording of waves

NASA’s Van Allen Probes have been exploring the hostile radiation belts surrounding Earth for just three months. But already, they’ve collected detailed measurements of high-energy particles and radio waves.

Scientists say these waves can provide an energy boost to radiation belt particles, somewhat like ocean waves can propel a surfer on Earth. What’s more, these so-called chorus waves operate in the same frequency as human hearing so they can be heard.

A University of Iowa physicist played a recording of these high-pitched radio waves at a conference Tuesday in San Francisco. Craig Kletzing says it sounds like the chirping of “alien birds” and crickets.

 

1
Text Only
State, national, world
Featured Ads