Listen up: making music from the northern lights

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A biologist and composer have turned the aurora borealis into sound to create a magic melding of art and nature

There’s a hypnotic crackle before a whoosh of sound flies from ear to ear. It’s followed by a heavenly chorus that might be whales whistling, frogs calling or the chirping of an alien bird. It sounds celestial because that’s what it is. The noise is the aurora borealis: the northern lights.

The vivid green lights that trace across the Arctic sky emit electromagnetic waves when the solar shower meets the Earth’s magnetic field, and these can be translated into sounds that are made audible to human ears by a small machine.

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