It's that time of year again, so grab your cocoa, place a tealight in your pumpkin and cozy on down with these scary sounds.
3. The Sounds of Saturn
Nope, not Roland's analogue organ, we're talking about the planet here. Saturn, being one of a handful of planets visible through the simplest of telescopes, has long captured the imagination of stargazers.
The astrology of medieval times actually associated this gas giant with death; it's 29 1/2 year orbit of the sun mirroring the average life span of the era, and, together with it's "malefic" partner Mars, bringing malevolent vibes to the solar system.
Fast forward to 2004, when the Cassini–Huygens mission entered the Saturnian system and started sending data back to Earth. There were images aplenty of moons and rings, but Cassini was also able to detect intense radio emissions from the planet. These emissions originate from the planet's aurorae and NASA was able to frequency-shift and time-compress these, as to be suitable for human hearing.
And...wow! The tones initially bring to mind inharmonic metallic sounds, perhaps the wind, but also human-like timbres; breathing, moaning and wailing. It's super creepy!
So from outer space to deep beneath our the Earth's oceans, where autonomous hydrophone arrays made of pressure-sensitive underwater microphones (with designs based on piezoelectric transducers, tuned to match the acoustic impedance of water) pick up signals of natural and man-made origin.
On March 1st 1999 the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration picked up a sound so loud that it could be heard over the entire Equatorial Pacific Ocean autonomous hydrophone array.
A large iceberg was thought to be the cause of the disturbance, but as humanity has only explored 5% of Earth's oceans, I think it's a lot more fun to imagine Julia as some kind of huge creature. Bear this image in mind as you listen to the recording; the initial, almost-comfy ambience that Julia fades into at 1:12, her gigantic presence towering over you as she swims past, you standing perfectly still in hope that she doesn't spot you!
Let us know what sounds creep you out in the comments...
Thanks for stopping by and Happy Halloween. We'll have more terrifying tones next year, but for now, sleep tight!
Posted by MagicalSynthAdventure an expert in synthesis technology from last Century and Amiga enthusiast.
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