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Listen to the sounds of the universe – Skywatch 16

You won't hear it on the FM dial or satellite radio, but our earth is cranking out its own radio hits. Newswatch 16's John Hickey introduces us to natural radio.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Have you ever wanted to hear what lightning sounds like? How about the northern lights? Well, you can.

"Natural radio emissions are natural radio emissions that originate from natural phenomena on earth such as lightning discharges and upper atmospheric plasma interactions," explained Jonathan Rizzo, a natural radio enthusiast from the Pittston area.

"For years, natural radio emissions have been heard on telephone lines. back when telephone lines were analog, they were basically large antennas, and they picked up those natural radio emissions."

Electromagnetic waves generated by natural phenomena create very low-frequency radio waves. Some of these low-frequency waves are called dawn chorus. They're created by the aurora borealis.

"It actually sounds like tree frogs or peepers at night."

The other types of low-frequency radio waves are called whistlers, which are generated from lightning discharges.

"They can be heard as whistling sounds and whistling tones."

What makes whistlers so unique is where the sound is coming from.

"Whistlers that are heard here in northeast Pennsylvania come from right off the tip of South America."

If you're interested in hearing earth's natural radio for yourself, there are kits you can buy online and assemble at home.

You can listen online here or here.

See past Skywatch 16 segments on YouTube: