The Sound of Silence

First off: Please don’t sue me Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel or Columbia Records.

So, in space, no one can hear you scream, right? Correct! Sort of..

Sound requires a medium such as air to move through so we can hear it, but acoustic sound (what we hear) is different from wavelength sounds. Now, generalizing all of sound into the term “wavelengths” will have scientists and audio engineers beat me up, so let me explain. Wavelengths vary in size, depending on spatial distance (the distance over which a wave’s shape repeats), and depending on that distance, it is classified into different categories. Microwaves, Visible light, X-Rays, Gamma Rays and more. Staying on the original topic, I wont be discussing specific wavelengths any more (as best I can) but here’s the list:

What can you hear in space? Nothing.
What can science hear in space? Everything.

Everything makes sound from resonating frequencies, and if something is moving in any direction, whether it moves from gravitational force or is put into motion from another object (collision with something, or projected medium from explosion), or aliens. Earth makes sound, the moon makes a sound, the sun makes sound, and atoms themselves make a sound. Anyone who has a HAM radio can hear Earth’s sound; it tends to sound like wind blowing in a storm with birds chirping. The sun tends to sound like a roaring fire and thunder (who’d have thought?), and the moon resonates at a pretty standard frequency giving a hum, but not much else. Henry over at Minute Physics used Hydrogen and pitch shifted the frequency down to a tone humans can hear unaided, and it was.. creepy. An ominous hum that was constant.


Hey look! A video!


Hey look! Sounds! Get your headphones on!
Earthsong, The Sound of Earth
Ambient sound of The International Space Station
“The Surface” of Jupiter
The Surface of Io, a Moon of Jupiter
The Surface of Miranda, a moon of Uranus
“The Surface” of Neptune
“The Surface” of Saturn
“The Surface” of Uranus (*immature snicker*)

Jeff Wilton

Jeff is the founder and owner of Everyday Science Stuff. ESS is a one man operation, with the core belief that all education should be served without crippling debt tuition, without revenue generating ads and without any restrictions of any kind such as paywalls, forced login and account creations, geographical restrictions, and so on.

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