Let’s be honest! Space is an absolutely crazy place.
But the cosmos is a lot stranger than we give it credit for! Discover spooky noises from outer space and other strange space phenomena!
While sound doesn’t travel in space, the galaxy is actually a fairly noisy place.
Indeed, almost every galaxy, celestial bodies and anomaly are emitting radio waves.
Although these signals aren’t audible by the human ear, special equipment to detect and record them first. And then… Just listen to these amazing and spooky space sounds!
The Wow! Signal
On the 15th of August 1977, scientists working with ‘The Big Ear Telescope’ at Ohio State University recorded a 72-second transmission originating nearly 200 light years away from Earth, near the Source: NAAPOconstellation of Sagittarius. The computer recorded the varying intensity of the electromagnetic signal as it hit the receivers, which was represented in a 6 digit code: ‘6EQUJ5’.
Low power signals are represented with numbers ranging from 1-9, but as it exceeds a power level of 10, letters are used instead, with ‘A’ representing ’10’; ‘B’ representing ’11’ and so on. This signal therefore grew in intensity from ‘6’ then reached its peak at 30 (the highest power signal ever recorded by the radio telescope and represented by ‘U’ in the code) and then decreased to ‘5’.
It was so unique and looked so similar to how previous scientists predicted an extraterrestrial message would look like, that astronomer Jerry R Ehman circled the 6EQUJ5 code and wrote ‘WOW’ next to it. Researchers have considered a wide range of possibilities on the origin of the sound, including satellite transmissions, aircraft signals, space debris reflecting ground based radio transmissions and terrestrial TV and radio signals.
However none of these theories fit and to today the signal has never again been heard and its source remains unidentified.
Now listen to The Wow! Signal Audio:
Sounds from Saturn
While basically all the planets emit radio waves, none is quite as creepy or unsettling as those radiating from Saturn. With eerie noises that sound like something ripped right from a 1950s B-horror or sci-fi movie (minus the theremin and cheesy narration) and an incredible array of variations in frequency and time, the radio emissions were originally detected by the Cassini Spacecraft in 2002. Scientists believe that the waves are closely linked to the auroras near the planet’s poles and that their rising and falling tones are similar to Earth’s own auroral radio emissions.
To hear an audio clip of the eerie sounds of Saturn, please click here.
The Lorimer Burst (or Fast Radio Bursts)
In 2007 scientists were baffled by a millisecond extragalactic radio burst, originally recorded in a 2001 radio survey of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy and discovered six years later by astronomer Duncan Lorimer. Researchers speculated that the burst’s origins could be as far as several billion light-years away.
In July 2013 four more similar flares were observed by astrophysicist Daniel Thornton who told Popular Mechanics that the fast radio bursts originated from way outside of the Milky Way and may have taken half of the universe’s life to reach us. The CSIRO, who captured this series of bursts on the Parkes Radio Telescope, suggest that they may occur every ten seconds.
Scientists have occasionally heard fast radio bursts over the years, thoughgenerally only after they’ve been recorded (the first time they were ever heard live was in January 2015).
Currently the origins of these radio bursts remain unknown though researchers theorize that they may be caused by “explosive events” and possibly highly magnetic neutron stars known as magnetars. These rare and extremely dense husks of past supernovae occasionally explode and give off more energy in a millisecond than the sun in 300,000 years.
Desperate Plea from a Phantom Cosmonaut
There are those who believe that currently hurtling through the void of space are the lifeless remains of several preserved human astronauts, former collaborators of a secret Soviet space program from the 1950s and 60s. Russian officials have never revealed any evidence that proves the existence of such a program, but this hasn’t stopped rumors from thriving for over 50 years.
There have been a number of allegations that such a space program was real and that it led to a number of deaths, but none are quite as evocative or famous as the controversy surrounding the Judica-Cordiglia recordings.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s brothers Achille and Gian Judica-Cordiglia believed that they intercepted transmissions from Sputnik I and Explorer I. Their most famous recording was that of a desperate ‘phantom cosmonaut’ whose transmission in May 1961 indicated that her craft was beginning to combust around her. A recording of the incident is below and a transcript of what the woman is thought to be saying is as follows:
“Come in… come in… come in… Listen! Come in! Talk to me! I am hot! I am hot! Come in! What? Forty-five? What? Fifty? Yes. Yes, yes, breathing. Oxygen, oxygen… I am hot. This… isn’t this dangerous? Transmission begins now. Forty-one. Yes, I feel hot. I feel hot, it’s all… it’s all hot. I can see a flame! I can see a flame! I can see a flame! Thirty-two… thirty-two. Am I going to crash? Yes, yes I feel hot… I am listening, I feel hot, I will re-enter. I’m hot!”
Other recordings include what sounds like an SOS signal on November 1960 and possible gasping of a suffocating cosmonaut in February 1961.
Many have cast doubt that these voices belong to Russian personnel as the voices don’t follow transmission protocol and the astronauts who allegedly died were apparently only technicians and trainees involved in the development and operation of space hardware.
The desperate female voice captured in the Judica-Cordiglia Brother’s famous recording remains unidentified.
Radio source SHGb02+14a
Another space enigma, radio source SHGb02+14a is notable for the mystery behind what caused this strange signal and for having an overly complicated name that most people can barely say off the top of their heads, let alone remember.
Though its potential for being an extraterrestrial signal was highly exaggerated by the New Scientist, in 2004 radio source SHGB02+14a was found to be the only persistent signal from the best 200 candidates recorded by the Arecibo radio telescope and detected by the SETI@home project at the time.
The signal was detected between Pisces and Aries constellations, without any nearby stars in that vicinity. It’s frequency is around 1420 megahertz – a principal frequency that hydrogen readily absorbs and emits energy. Some scientists havetheorized that it’s a frequency that aliens may use.
Unfortunately it’s been dismissed by SETI as a potential extraterrestrial transmission and its origins remain unidentified.
The Singing Comet
The Rosetta Mission to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a landmark moment in space exploration, as it marks the first time ever a probe had been landed on a comet.
Having traveled 6.4 billion kilometers since its launch in March 2004, the spacecraft finally made it to its destination at Comet 67P in August 2014.
However as the Rosetta spacecraft came to within 100km of 67P, it recorded a strange “song” emanating from the comet’s surface.
So is this mysterious drilling or clicking some form of alien communication? Some ufologists and conspiracy theorists not only believe this to be the case but also argue that 67P is not a comet at all, but a spacecraft. Of coarse, this argument has not received wide acceptance.
Scientists instead believe that the sounds are oscillations in the magnetic field around the comet, possibly as a result of releasing neutral particles into space, causing them to become electrically charged through ionisation.
However further research is required to validate this theory and for now the cause of this strange sound remains unknown.
To hear Comet 67P sing please click here.
An Earthly Chorus
In case Comet 67P’s song isn’t is to your liking, here’s another ‘melody’ coming to us from the energetic particles in our planet’s magnetosphere. Known by scientists as ‘Chorus’, scientists have been savvy about this phenomenon for decades, though this doesn’t make it any less fascinating.
To hear The Earth’s chorus please click here.
In 2006 a balloon-borne instrument known as Absolute Radiometer for Cosmology, Astrophysics, and Diffuse Emission (or ‘ARCADE’) was launched from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas. It proceeded to fly upwards towards an altitude of 120,000 feet to measure heating of the universe by first generation stars.
In 2009 researchers reported that ARCADE had detected radio signals booming noise six times louder than any researcher had expected.
Scientists ruled out primordial stars and gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy as a possible source for the booming, leaving the cause and origins of these mysterious signals a mystery.