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Tuesday 4 July 2017

Sound in Space: The noise of interstellar space

It may be true that in space no-one can hear you scream, but you can hear some far stranger things out there.

The recording above was taken by the Voyager 1space probe, as it left our solar system - it's of waves with the same frequency as sound, but it's not sound as we know it. Where regular sound is a vibration in a gas, solid or liquid, these sounds are vibrations in the ultra thin soup of ions, called plasma, that fills space. Far too faint for any human sense to detect, Voyager had been listening to vibrations like these for decades. But this set was different - their pitch was suddenly a lot higher. That meant the density of the plasma they travelled through had changed dramatically in a short space of time - one of the markers for the boundary with interstellar space.

So the weird little vibrations are literally the sound of Voyager going where no-one had been before...

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