October 13, 2012

Radio Storm on Jupiter "Listen to the recording in stereo"

Two nights ago, there was a storm on Jupiter--a radio storm. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded the event using a shortwave radio telescope located in New Mexico. 

Click on the link "AUDIO" (a plot of intensity vs. frequency vs. time) to hear the whooshing, crackling, popping sounds that emerged from his telescope's loudspeaker:


"Listen to the recording in stereo," advises Ashcraft. "I recorded the audio from two separate radios at 21.1 MHz and 20.9 MHz, so there is a stereo spatial effect from the frequency drift of the emissions."

Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach.

Now is a good time to listen to Jupiter's radio storms. The distance between Earth and Jupiter is decreasing as the giant planet approches opposition on Dec. 3rd; the closer Jupiter gets, the louder it gets. NASA's Radio Jove Project explains how to build your own receiver.



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