Is there sound in space?

We find out the answer to this intriguing question

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Most of the universe is not very dense at all, with only about ten atoms per cubic centimetre. Image Credit: NASA

Most of the universe is not very dense at all, with only about ten atoms per cubic centimetre. Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Casey Worth

Yes there is. In particular, disturbances due to solar storms and magneto- sonic-turbulence at the Earth’s magnetopause – the boundary between the planet’s magnetic field and the solar wind – make enormous acoustic wavelengths. However, we’re unable to hear this sound. This is because these disturbances are not travelling through the gases that are needed to turn them into the pressure waves that our ears can pick up, just like the air that they travel through here on Earth. Space isn’t very dense at all, with only around ten atoms per cubic centimetre, so in order to detect cosmic pressure waves, we need to detect them with technology.

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