The Sound of Saturn

The Cassini–Huygens is a robotic spacecraft mission – a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency,and the Italian Space Agency to study the planet Saturn, the 6th planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in our Solar System.

Launched on October 15, 1997, Cassini-Huygens finally entered into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004, after a long interplanetary voyage.

Saturn during Equinox, as imaged by Cassini

On December 25, 2004, the Huygens probe was separated from the orbiter. The probe reached Saturn’s moon Titan on January 14, 2005, when it descended into Titan’s atmosphere, and downward to the surface, radioing scientific information back to the Earth. This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer solar system.

Even before Cassini entered into orbit around Saturn, as the spacecraft passed over the rings of Saturn, 234 million miles from the planet, Cassini began detecting these eerie radio signals. Pay particular attention at around the 1:30 mark.

NASA says the radio waves are closely related to the auroras near the poles of Saturn. These auroras are similar to Earth’s northern and southern lights.

NASA’s explanation is compatible with the classic Christian notion of the harmony of the spheres. Go here to view and listen to a fascinating presentation on the Harmony. (H/t Fellowship’s writer, LTG!)

You can also hear an audio file of radio emissions from Saturn on the NASA website, here.

On April 18, 2008, NASA announced a two-year extension of the funding for ground operations of this mission, at which point it was renamed to Cassini Equinox Mission.This was again extended in February 2010 with the Cassini Solstice Mission continuing until 2017. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit.

~Eowyn

4 responses to “The Sound of Saturn

  1. lowtechgrannie

    The Museo Gallileo website has an interesting video on this.

    http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/galileopalazzostrozzi/multimedia/TheHarmonyOfTheSpheres.html

    • What a fascinating video on the Harmony of the Spheres! Thanks, LTG! I added that website to my post. :)

      I’ve read on the net that Lucifer was the angel of music, but couldn’t find a biblical or some other authoritative source for it. Do you or sagebrush know?

      • Thank you, sage! :D

        • Very beautiful, and I’m not surprised. The ancient Greeks often referred to “the music of the celestial spheres” as being its purest form. Forty years ago I had an old-fashioned multi-band radio receiver. I’d often listen to “star noise/music” as I called it: interference waves that were turned into audible sounds.
          It also reminds me of the wonderful music created by Brian Eno, the UK composer who wrote the NASA music collection, APOLLO for the missions of the time.

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