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back to article Finnish boffins don tinfoil hats, admit Northern Lights are noisy

Cranks who claimed that the aurora borealis makes a noise when it lights up the Northern sky have been proven right by science. Boffins from Aalto University in Finland recorded the 'clapping' sounds of the Northern Lights back in 2004, but only discovered the noises when they switched the recording from DV tapes to disc. …

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Facepalm

It's Complicated

From the article: "Cranks who claimed that the aurora borealis makes a noise when it lights up the Northern sky have been proven right by science."

(Does this mean that they are no longer 'cranks'?)

From the video: "It is yet scientifically unproven that this clap sound is related to aurora borealis"

(I think they mean 'not yet scientifically proven', but I'll let that pass).

So, what is it?

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Headmaster

Re: It's Complicated

From the video: "It is yet scientifically unproven that this clap sound is related to aurora borealis"

(I think they mean 'not yet scientifically proven', but I'll let that pass).

I should hope you let that pass. 'Yet scientifically unproven' is the same thing as 'not yet scientifically proven'.

'Unproven' means 'not proven', as opposed to 'disproved', which means 'proven false.'

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@Steve Knox - Re: It's Complicated

I was concerned about the use of 'yet' followed by negative, since I believe that 'not yet' followed by a positive is more easily understood and is more natural. I should have made a better effort to express my thoughts on this matter and perhaps should also get out more.

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Pint

Re: @Steve Knox - It's Complicated

[I] perhaps should also get out more.

Same here.

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Facepalm

"In the past, researchers thought that the aurora borealis was too far away for people to hear the sounds it made,"

Oh, so that's why I can't hear airplanes, and don't hear any noise after that flashing in thunderstorms...

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Anonymous Coward

Tinfoil fail

We in the know all realise its really down to HAARP - the use of the ionospheric weapon of the NWO.

I have some web site links if you want to take this seriously....

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Coat

Re: Tinfoil fail

Yep, and that's why I wear fur. HAARP seals, they'lll rule the world if we don't club them first.

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Happy

Dissapointed

I was expecting something much more soothing and Enya-like.

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Noises

I'm aware that meteors can make a sizzling/banging sound, too. I had a graduate professor who had done a research project on mapping meteor paths by putting an array of microphones out in a field, and doing an analysis of the sounds to triangulate the source. Hey, it was pretty cutting edge stuff in the 1970s.

Dave

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Boffin

Perhaps this is related to the way you can very occasionally hear meteors (it's true I tell you! I've heard one, many years ago walking home in the middle of the night). The theory goes that the sound is generated locally by items acting as an aerial for EM radiation from the meteor and vibrating, explaining the fact that the sound is simultaneous with the sighting.

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Whatever it was, that bloody huge fireball back in March made a hell of a noise. I thought it was a jet engine on fire at first.

I'll probably never see something like that again, either.

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TRT
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Mushroom

Quite so...

I saw one in Southport back in the early 80s. I have a vivid memory of a crackling meteor passing as a young boy, but when I was older I kept thinking, "No, that's impossible! Time delay, distance etc. couldn't be!"

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Good

"Now science has validated our claims that the aurora makes sounds, let's hope they go on to prove the sounds are voices whispering for us to kil... er, nevermind"

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Megaphone

If the aurora borealis claps and there is nobody to hear it, does it make a sound?

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Pint

For a good time call Aurora Borealis

Naturally the wall note said nothing about the clap. No negativity for the Olympics, I imagine.

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Deniers

So up till now there existed a group of people who denied acoustic Aurora Borealis and the science seemed to be settled that such sounds did not exist. There probably was a consensus that anyone who thought there was a sound was probably a nutter.

Now the deniers have been proved wrong.

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Re: Deniers

Ah, but the thing is, the scientists said that that the mere mortals who claimed that there were noises ('noisers') were nutters and that the 'settled science' proved them wrong. Now they've had to admit that there might be some validity to the 'noisers's claims and the settled science ain't so settled after all.

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Coat

Re: Deniers

Okay, okay, settle down...

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Pint

The explanation

It's the ghost of Alex Higgins playing snooker.

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Anonymous Coward

Go Go Gadget Register

Well there's The Register's next space project right there.

Someone needs to tie a mobile phone to a helium balloon with a bit of string, dial The Register's office number (and maybe start the voice recorder as a backup) and send it right up in the air to see how it sounds at close range.

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Joke

There's also the idea

That Jean Jarre will base a new album on this!

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Auroras have been heard far to the south

Back in the late 1950s, I'm not sure of the exact year, but Life Magazine did an article, with pictures, of the Aurora sighted as far south as West Virginia. That aurora had to have been one for the books. It was bright and flowed with red, yellows and greens for hours. I was the Post Advisor for a crew of Explorer Scouts at the time and our meeting night was that same night of the Aurora. We spent the time watching this very rare spectacle. The area we were in was very quiet and we did hear the Aurora; the boys and I were fascinated. We did not hear any clashes or bangs but we did hear a swishing sound, kinda like mild static electricty. So I find it hard to believe that only now anyone has verified that the Auroras make sound. If we could hear it that far south; surely it must be much louder farther north.

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"Cranks who claimed that the aurora borealis makes a noise when it lights up the Northern sky have been proven right by science."

Yes, sometimes, just sometimes, science can be arrogant about the little people. "You are a crank if you believe something that is yet unproven by science". Remember people, it's still ok to think for yourself.

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Science is a methodology and cannot be arrogant.

However there are some unscientific scientists about.

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