If you have paid attention to the news this past week, you likely have heard that the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully landed a probe, Philae, on a comet—the first time in history this was successfully done.
As Earth starts to receive transmission from 67P, the official name of the comet, a surprising discovery was found. 67P is singing.
Of course, this is not The Beatles or Led Zeppelin-though if you slow it down and play it backwards, you may hear the devil speaking.
From the ESA’s Rosetta Blog:
The instruments are designed to study a number of phenomena, including: the interaction of 67P/C-G with the solar wind, a continuous stream of plasma emitted by the Sun; changes of activity on the comet; the structure and dynamics of the comet’s tenuous plasma ‘atmosphere’, known as the coma; and the physical properties of the cometary nucleus and surface.
But one observation has taken the RPC scientists somewhat by surprise. The comet seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased by a factor of about 10,000.
The humming is absolute music to the scientists ears.
“This is exciting because it is completely new to us. We did not expect this and we are still working to understand the physics of what is happening,” says Karl-Heinz Glaßmeier, head of Space Physics and Space Sensorics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany.
To quote Star Trek, space is the final frontier. Even scientists with titles longer and more complex than most laymen could understand can become confounded by discoveries.
It is pretty incredible.
Listen to 67P sing here[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/176387011″ params=”color=ff5500″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
H/T: Rosetta Blog