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Northern Lights Soundtrack: 230 Feet Above Ground, Aurora Borealis Pops and Claps

When nature really puts on a show, it also gives itself a much-deserved hand.

For years, folktales and first-person accounts from the aurora borealis have claimed the dazzling Northern Lights also produce strange noises. And now scientists have found those noises—which are apparently similar to the sound of clapping hands—230 feet above the ground.

Scientists have captured mysterious sounds from Aurora Borealis, also called Northern Lights–proving decades of stories that said the phenomenon created strange noises.


Researchers from Finland confirm that “the source of the sounds that are associated with the aurora borealis … is likely caused by the same energetic particles from the sun that create the northern lights.”

They don’t occur during every appearance and they’re usually brief and faint, but can vary from claps and crackles to muffled bangs and sputtering sounds. Because the sounds are so varied, scientists don’t yet know what’s creating them—but they are definitely there in the atmosphere. Mother Nature: Bringing you the soothing sounds of Rice Krispies and Pop Rocks, from space.

Video by Jim Festante.