People Terrified After Hearing Noise The Northern Lights Make

People are terrified after hearing the sound the Northern Lights make.
Credit: Alamy

People are terrified after hearing the noise the Northern Lights make.

The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, has long fascinated people with its mesmerising dancing waves of light.

However, what many people are discovering is that the aurora also has a sound that can be unsettling.

And it has left many people creeped out.

Listen to the sound of the Northern Lights below…

Reports have described the noises for over a century, but it wasn’t until 2012 when acoustic engineer Unto Laine from Aalto University in Finland made recordings that confirmed the sounds were real.

The sound of the Northern Lights has been compared to a distant waterfall or the noise that static makes.

Indigenous communities have also reported hearing the sounds.

One member of the Tlingit tribe in Alaska told CNN: “It’s our ancestors letting us know, ‘We crossed over but we’re still here with you’.”

Reddit users have now discovered the noise and are describing it as ‘unsettling’.

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In a thread asking for sailors or those who work at sea to share the ‘most creepy or most amazing sight’ they’ve witnessed, the Northern Lights got a few mentions.

One commenter says: “Seeing them [Northern Lights] is absolutely spectacular. Hearing them though was unsettling for me.”

“God, no wonder people thought they were spirits,” another person replies after hearing the sound.

Another Reddit user pens: “I didn’t hear any whistles, but I have heard people say that. I heard more crackles and pops?”

While someone else comments: “Sounds like someone adjusting their transistor radio from space.”

Northern Lights
People are terrified after hearing the noise the Northern Lights make. Credit: Alamy

Auroras occur after disturbances in the Earth’s magnetosphere, which is the region of space around the Earth that is dominated by the planet’s magnetic field.

The disturbances are the result of particles flowing from the sun and interacting with gases in the magnetosphere.

Laine and his colleagues believe they have figured out what causes the noise that some people report hearing.

He published his temperature inversion layer hypothesis in 2016, which suggests that the sound people associate with the Northern Lights comes from electric discharges at lower altitudes of around 70 and 90 metres.

This happens during calm and clear weather when a temperature inversion layer is produced.

Laine uses a three-microphone set-up, a VLF (very low frequency) loop antenna connected to a digital recorder with four channels to record the sounds.

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The ‘largest surprise’ from his research was that both the aurora sound and aurora borealis can be observed separately and together – they don’t have to coincide.

The process that creates the sounds is different from the process that creates the light displays, but because they’re both produced by geomagnetic activity, they appear together.

Laine’s work suggests that there’s probably a causal link between the auroral sounds and geomagnetic activity.

Laine tells “The sounds are much more common than anyone thought, but when people hear them without visible aurora, they think it’s just ice cracking or maybe a dog or some other animal.”

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.