February 14, 2006
The Cassini spacecraft has captured radio emissions believed to come from a large lightning storm on Saturn. Those radio emissions were converted into an audio file.
The storm occurred January 23 and 24. Cassini has been orbiting Saturn and its moons since July 1, 2004. More Cassini information is at www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov .
Podcast: Lightning Crackles on Saturn
CUT 1– NATURAL SOUND OF RADIO EMISSIONS FROM A SATURNIAN LIGHTNING STORM, CONVERTED INTO AN AUDIO FILE.
Running time: :27
OUT: CRACKLING SOUND FADES
Description of CUT 1:
This audio file contains crackling sounds. It was created from radio signals received during a lightning storm on Saturn by the radio and plasma wave science instrument on the Cassini spacecraft. The sounds are similar to the crackles and pops we hear on an AM radio during a thunderstorm on Earth. This Saturnian storm occurred on January 23 and 24, 2006. The clip compresses two hours of observations into about 28 seconds; every second of audio corresponds to about 4 minutes, 18 seconds.
CUT 2– DR. BILL KURTH, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, DEPUTY PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR FOR CASSINI'S RADIO AND PLASMA WAVE SCIENCE INSTRUMENT, EXPLAINS HOW THEY CAPTURED THE STORM ON SATURN.
Running time: :25
OUT: LIGHTNING FLASHES"
Transcript of CUT 2:
"We have a radio receiver on Cassini, and if you had a similar receiver in your car, which you do, an AM radio, and you were driving your car during a thunderstorm, listening to an AM radio station, you would hear cracks and pops. Most people think it's interference. What it really is, those cracks and pops are radio emissions that are generated by the lightning flashes."
CUT 3– DR. BILL KURTH SAYS SCIENTISTS BELIEVE THE SOUNDS ARE COMING FROM LIGHTNING THAT'S VERY SIMILAR TO THE LIGHTNING WE HAVE ON EARTH.
Running time: :08
OUT: "OF TIME"
Transcript of CUT 3:
"It's definitely a discharge process, a big spark that releases a lot of energy in a very short period of time."
CUT 4 – DR. BILL KURTH SAYS THIS IS THE STRONGEST LIGHTNING STORM EVER DETECTED BY CASSINI AND SOME OF ITS SPACECRAFT PREDECESSORS.
Running time: :17
OUT: EARLY 1980S"
Transcript of CUT 4:
"Since we've been in orbit, we've detected maybe four or five such storms. This is by far the strongest that we've detected with Cassini. And it's even stronger and there's more activity than the storms that were detected by the two Voyager spacecraft back in the early 1980s."