Voyager 1 records eerie sounds of interstellar space

Scott Sutherland

With Voyager 1 having made the momentous 'leap' from interplanetary to interstellar spacecraft, it has already given us our first taste of what's beyond our solar system by sending back a recording of the 'sounds' of interstellar space.

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Although there's no air around Voyager 1 (at least as far as we usually think of air), it is surrounded by ionized interstellar gas, called plasma. When the atoms and molecules of this plasma vibrate due to waves of energy passing through the area, it's very much like air molecules vibrating when sound waves pass by.

In this case, the shrill, eerie sounds towards the end of the recording were due to vibrations caused by a massive solar eruption back in March 2012, which took 13 months to arrive at Voyager 1's location. Playing those vibrations through a speaker, we have about as close to 'sounds in space' as we're going to get.

(Image and Video courtesy: NASA JPL)

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