Strange Clap Sounds of Auroras


Northern lights aren’t just dazzling light shows.

Auroras also generate a mysterious and strange clipping sound!

aurora sounds, northern lights sound, aurora sound video, northern lights sound video
Sounds of northern lights. Photo via BBC

Did you know that northern lights create weird clapping sounds? Yes one of the most amazing light shows, besides meteor showers, causes radio noise too.

Although being reported by adventurers and in folktales, researchers have always thought that aurora was too far away for people to hear the sounds it made.

According to new investigations, it seems that the origin of the sounds associated with aurora borealis is likely caused by the same energetic particles from the sun that create the northern lights far away in the sky, mainly oxygen and nitrogen.

Yes, the energy with which the particles smash into those gases causes them to glow, danse and sing in the night sky.

What is aurora sound?

Aurora noises aren’t widespread and aren’t present during each northern lights outburst.

The strange clapping sound is usually brief and faint. They can be quite variable, ranging from claps and crackles to muffled bangs and sputtering sounds.

Scientists still aren’t sure exactly how the auroral sounds are created. Because of their sonic diversity, several different mechanisms might be at work.

But, one thing is currently sure, the auroral choir can only be recorded at 230 feet (70 meters) from the ground during the light shows, as shown by simultaneous measurements the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

These results corroborate folktales and reports of wilderness travelers, which have long described sounds associated with the northern lights.

Listen to other mysterious sounds created by other space weather phenomena here.

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  1. Saw the aurora borealis while up in Montana. Didn’t hear any sounds unfortunately, however, the elk came over to where we were eating, and they were nibbling on the grass. They came about three feet away from our camp. I really enjoyed that. I never hunt deer or elk. I love the meat, but I had rescued two fawns as a kid from the swimming pool, so I like them roaming around.

  2. El sonido lo produce las moléculas de oxígeno al interactuar con los iones procedentes del sol.
    The sound is produced by oxygen molecules when interacting with ions from the sun

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