Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

And In Honor of Earth Day: Listening to Meteor Showers and Other Sounds of Earth and Sky

They can be observed falling through the sky, usually in the predawn hours if all the conditions are in alignment. But for many people with visual impairments these phenomena were unavailable in any form. In recent years, scientists became aware that the showers also make sounds, which some describe as hissing, buzzing or sizzling. Now, recordings of the sounds made by meteor showers have made this phenomenon more accessible for all. In 2011, Air Force Surveillance radar recorded echoes of the Perseid meteor shower and in 2015, the cries of a meteor shower were captured as it streaked across the Earth’s atmosphere. So, when the Eta Aquarid shower, which is associated with Halley’s Comet, appears in early May, tune in.

From 1999 to 2005, NPR aired a series called “Lost and Found Sound,” short sound clips from its archives that cover sounds collected by recordists over the past century. Listening to the Northern Lights is an eight-minute recording by Steve McGreevey of Natural Radio – the sound of the Earth’s magnetic field – in Alberta, Canada. Spring is one of the best times for listening to the lights, which tweet (like a bird), whistle, sigh and hiss as McGreevey explains the sounds, his recording process, and space weather. Learn more about the radio signals created by lightning, solar winds and other natural phenomena that lie just beyond our perception — because although their frequencies fall within the range of human hearing, they are radio waves that our ears don’t perceive. tNatural Radio explains it all.