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SSFX’s Massive Musical Instrument Featured

You may have seen SSFX floating around online and the media recently, as the idea of us living within a massive musical instrument has captured people’s imaginations. Articles about this can be found on the Daily Mail, IFL Science, Yahoo, and Science Alert among others.

Our next SSFX video will be about your comments on what space sounds like. Are any of them right in a scientific sense? Stay tuned to find out!


A bit of fun on Twitter right now is #scienceraptrax where people have been writing mini raps featuring science. Here’s one for SSFX:

Earth’s Massive Magnetic Musical Instrument

We told you what sounds in space physically are, but did you know that Earth’s magnetosphere has a major role in controlling the sounds present around the Earth? It’s very much like a musical instrument, as Dr Martin Archer explains in our latest video delving into this complex magnetic symphony and some of the questions that researchers still have about it.

SSFX on Resonance FM

Dr Martin Archer appeared on Resonance FM‘s OST show on Saturday to play space sounds, talk about SSFX and give away space goodies. Resonance is an apt name of a radio station for SSFX to appear on, as you shall see in our next video on the science behind SSFX.

The presenter, Robin the Fog, has blogged about the show here.

Articles on SSFX’s launch

Last week we launched SSFX and there’s been a great reaction so far including lots of sharing on social media, so thanks!

Here are a couple of things you might want to check out:

IFL Science wrote an article about various sorts of space sounds, linking to us about their potential use in art.

Super/Collider featured a short interview with space physicist and competition organiser Dr Martin Archer.

Physics World blogged about the competition launch, mentioning David Bowie in the process.

EarthSky also wrote about our competition.

The tagline to Alien was wrong

Alien told us “in space no one can hear you scream”, which seems apt as we learned that sound can’t travel through space. Except it can, the entire SSFX project is about sound in space. So what is sound in space?

The answers can be found in the first video of our SSFX series on the research currently being done into these space sounds.

SSFX Launches

We’re excited to announce the launch of the SSFX Short-Film Competition.

Space sounds inspire short film competition

Filmmakers will have the chance to use real-life sound recorded from space in a new competition launched by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

While the trailer for the movie Alien may have told us: “In space, no one can hear you scream” recordings of sounds from space by satellites seem to suggest otherwise. These unusual noises recorded over eight years have been sped up and amplified so they can be heard by the human ear for the first time. The recordings are free to download for filmmakers to use – and potentially win £2,000 worth of prizes.

The sounds were recorded by NOAA’s GOES satellites.

Competition organiser and space scientist, Dr Martin Archer from QMUL’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “From Star Wars to Sunshine, space has inspired and entertained cinema fans for decades. Now we are asking filmmakers to get creative and use an authentic piece of scientific research to realise their vision.

“These bizarre noises will increase the listener’s curiosity about the world around us and make us think about the age-old question: what does space sound like?”

Scientists study these sounds to understand their knock on effect on the everyday technology that we rely on as a society, for example mobile phones, GPS systems, TVs and weather forecasts.

The Space Sound Effects (SSFX) Short-Film Competition invites filmmakers to submit entries that are no longer than 15 minutes in length using the space sounds provided. Both young filmmakers and those more established are encouraged to enter the free competition, which is divided into four categories by age and location:

  • Under 25’s(UK)
  • Under 25’s (International)
  • Over 25’s (UK)
  • Over 25’s (International)

The competition closes on Monday 03 July 2017.

A panel of filmmakers and scientists will judge the competition, and prizes will be awarded at a special one-off screening of the winning films on Saturday 02 September 2017 at Rich Mix in Shoreditch.

The SSFX competition is supported by QMUL’s Centre for Public Engagement.

What does space sound like? Your comments

Thanks to everyone who commented on our space sounds telling us what they thought they sound like. We had such a wide range of responses as can be seen in the infographic below.

You can add your comments on what space sounds like to you any time on our Soundcloud playlist.

What does space sound like?

Back in November we asked members of the public to listen to our sounds from space and provide their comments of what they think it sounds like.

This got picked up by The Daily Mail, Science Alert, Newsweek, and amongst others. We even got a tweet of approval from the European Space Agency.

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