The Rosetta spacecraft has caught the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko singing! It had been following the heavenly body since 2004, and will soon release its lander onto the surface of the comet to gather more information about the latter. To the surprise of the scientists working on the project, the comet was found to have emitted sounds eerily resembling a song at a frequency inaudible to the human ear.
Heavenly bodies make sounds of their own – such has been established by the European Space Agency. Scientists of the organisation have captured sound waves coming from a comet that is traveling in space, the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. They have described the sound as being a mysterious song: the comet song.
ESA officials have said in a statement that the sound is produced by “oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment”. They have listened to the comet song via their Rosetta spacecraft.
The sound would not be able to be sensed by humans had they been near to the comet because its frequency is outside of our range of hearing. Rosetta instead captured the song, which was somewhat of an echo, and its frequency was then increased by a factor of 10 000 for it to be audible to humans.
How does the comet emit sounds?
This queer question has not yet found an answer. The scientists from the ESA have suggested that the neutral particles of the comet might be the cause of the ‘song’. However, the exact mechanism that allows for the comet ‘to sing’ is unknown.
Rosetta spacecraft recorded the song back in August when it was within 100 kilometers near it. This was made possible by the magnetometer of the spacecraft. The device is part of a set of instruments that are used to monitor the interactions of the comet with solar wind, and plasma released from the sun. Rosetta will soon release its Philae lander onto the surface of the singing comet – this experiment will be the first of its kind where a probe lands on the face of a comet. The goal of the experiment is to glean additional data about the comet.