On June 6th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft pointed his shortwave radio telescope at Jupiter, which was shining brightly high overhead in the New Mexico night sky. Soon, the loudspeakers began to roar with strange-sounding swooshes of static. A Jovian radio storm was underway.
Click to listen to a sample of the audio:
"This is a one minute long audio recording captured on two short wave radios tuned at 29.0 MHz and 29.5 MHz," explains Ashcraft. "The storm produced sustained emissions that lasted over two and a half hours."
Jupiter is a powerful source of shortwave radio bursts. They come from natural radio lasers in the giant planet's magnetosphere. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. To learn more about radio storms on Jupiter, and how you can observe them yourself, visit NASA's RadioJove web site.