Juno captures eerie 'voice' of Jupiter's auroras

Having made its first laps around the gas giant with instruments on, NASA's spacecraft sends back one of the planet's creepy soundtracks.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Eric Mack has been a CNET contributor since 2011. Eric and his family live 100% energy and water independent on his off-grid compound in the New Mexico desert. Eric uses his passion for writing about energy, renewables, science and climate to bring educational content to life on topics around the solar panel and deregulated energy industries. Eric helps consumers by demystifying solar, battery, renewable energy, energy choice concepts, and also reviews solar installers. Previously, Eric covered space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Expertise Solar, solar storage, space, science, climate change, deregulated energy, DIY solar panels, DIY off-grid life projects, and CNET's "Living off the Grid" series Credentials
  • Finalist for the Nesta Tipping Point prize and a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Eric Mack
2 min read

NASA's Juno spacecraft has sent back data from a trip over both Jupiter's poles that reveals a world even more chaotic than previously known, and with impressive auroras making ghostly "cries" into space.

Juno's Radio/Plasma Wave Experiment, dubbed Waves, recorded the radio emissions that come from the same energetic particles that create the huge auroras circling the gas giant's north pole, and you can hear how they sound in the embedded video above.

NASA says scientists have known about the emissions for decades, but Juno provides a unique opportunity to analyze them up close -- kind of like putting an ear to a closed bedroom door when previously we've been too far away to even get inside the house.

Watch this: NASA video gives a Juno's-eye view of the approach to Jupiter

"Jupiter is talking to us in a way only gas-giant worlds can," Bill Kurth, co-investigator for the Waves instrument from the University of Iowa, said in a release from NASA. "These emissions are the strongest in the solar system. Now we are going to try to figure out where the electrons come from that are generating them."

Juno previously sent back the odd sounds of entering Jupiter's magnetosphere. It will now make dozens more orbits around the huge planet to study it more closely.

Its first trip around the planet with its instruments turned on also revealed the poles are marked by myriad storms of various shapes, sizes and rotation patterns. It's as if the top and bottom of Jupiter are constantly plagued by the worst hurricane season imaginable.

The chaotic polar picture is different from what scientists have observed at Jupiter's neighbor Saturn, where a huge but well-organized and fixed polar storm is resident at the ringed planet's north pole.