Science NewsCurated by RSF Research Staff Home > Science News > Sound waves in space: listening in on the harmony of the plasma spheres Space is not empty, nor is it silent. While technically a vacuum, space nonetheless contains energetic charged particles, governed by magnetic and electric fields, and it behaves unlike anything we experience on Earth. In regions laced with magnetic fields, such as the space environment surrounding our planet, particles are continually tossed to and fro by the motion of various electromagnetic waves known as plasma waves. These plasma waves, like the roaring ocean surf, create a rhythmic cacophony that -- with the right tools -- we can hear across space. Just as waves roll across the ocean or storm fronts move through the atmosphere, disturbances in space, can cause waves. These waves occur as fluctuating electric and magnetic fields plow through clumps of ions and electrons that compose the plasma, pushing some to accelerated speeds. This interaction controls the balance of highly energetic particles injected and lost from in the near-Earth environment. One type of plasma wave fundamental to shaping our near-Earth environment are whistler-mode waves. These waves create distinct sounds dependent on the plasma they travel through. For example, the region tight around Earth, called the plasmasphere, is relatively dense with cold plasma. Waves traveling inside this region sound much different than those outside. While different whistler-mode waves sing different sounds, they all move in the same way, with the same electromagnetic properties. https://resonance.is/wp-content/uploads/Chorus-Radio-Waves.mp3 A type of plasma wave known as chorus as heard by the EMFISIS instrument aboard NASA’s Van Allen Probes as it passed around Earth. Credits: NASA/University of Iowa Continue Reading at: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2017/nasa-listens-in-as-electrons-whistle-while-they-work Measuring gravitational waves to see inside starsSeptember 20, 2017New progress in Quantum Machine LearningSeptember 19, 2017The emergent physics of animal locomotionSeptember 19, 2017Water Droplets SuperpropulsionSeptember 18, 2017Supernova observations helping understand general relativitySeptember 18, 2017 Sharing is caring - please share this with your friends: Facebook Twitter If you like this content, you will love the Resonance Academy.