The Roar of the Aurora

by admin on July 11, 2008

It’s the mother of all earthly radio transmissions, a broadcast that’s been on the air for billions of years. However, and despite the long run, it’s one radio program that you’ll probably give a pass: it sounds like Fast-Finger Freddie twisting the shortwave dial at a few hundred RPM.

This cacophony of radio static from Earth is known as Auroral Kilometric Radiation (so-called because the wavelength of the emission is typically kilometers long). AKR is generated when fast-moving particles boil off the Sun, gush into space, and then get manhandled by Earth’s magnetic field. The same circumstance accounts for the aurora borealis – those ghostly celestial displays that quietly amuse bored Canadians and insomnious polar bears. …

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