• Earth's magnetic fields can't simply be seen or heard
  • Scientists converted magnetic field data into sound
  • They used data from ESA's Swarm satellites for the project

The Earth's magnetic field plays an important role in protecting the planet, but what exactly does it sound like? A team of scientists has found this out and it's actually pretty creepy.

It may not be the first thing people think of about the things that contribute to the Earth's habitability, but the magnetic field actually plays an important role in this. Stemming from the "ocean of superheated, swirling liquid iron" within the Earth, the magnetic field shields the planet from harmful cosmic and solar radiation, thereby keeping it, and us, safe from these cosmic elements.

It, however, is not something we can see or hear, noted the European Space Agency (ESA). Sometimes, people catch a glimpse of what happens when the charged particles from the Sun interact with the magnetic field through the beautiful auroras. But how can we hear it?

Enter the ESA's Swarm satellites. It's a constellation of three identical satellites that were launched to survey the Earth's geomagnetic field. And in a new project, scientists from the Technical University of Denmark used the data gathered by the satellites and converted it into sound.

In the audio clip, one can hear the resulting sound, which is rather spooky. With the creaks and heavy hum in the background, one could easily think that it's from a horror movie.

"Halloween is only a week away. What's on your playlist? Maybe a bit of Thriller? Some Hocus Pocus? Or is it.. perhaps... the SCARY SOUND OF EARTH'S MAGNETIC FIELD?" the ESA Swarm Mission tweeted.

According to the agency, the sounds were that of the magnetic field and a solar storm.

"And right now... that eerie racket is rumbling forth from the very ground beneath our feet..." the ESA Swarm Mission noted in a follow-up tweet.

"The team used data from ESA's Swarm satellites, as well as other sources, and used these magnetic signals to manipulate and control a sonic representation of the core field," project supporter and musician Klaus Nielsen, of the Technical University of Denmark, said in a news release from the ESA. "The project has certainly been a rewarding exercise in bringing art and science together."

From Oct 24 to 30, the magnetic field's eerie sounds will be played through loudspeakers at Solbjerg Square in Copenhagen. While it comes just in time for Halloween, the idea isn't to scare people but to remind them of the important, yet often unnoticed, role that the magnetic field plays for life on Earth.

Indeed, the sounds of our planet and space can be quite interesting. Recently, for instance, NASA translated James Webb Space Telescope's first photos into rather enchanting sounds.

But those who are already into the Halloween spirit may want to check out the agency's "Black Hole Remix." Just like the magnetic fields, the sound of the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster is so creepy that it sounds like it is coming straight out of a horror movie.

Aurora and Airglow
Image: Aurora meeting the airglow in the atmosphere. This image was captured by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. ISS Astronaut Photography/NASA Earth Observatory