School of Physics and Astronomy

The MUSICS Project

The MUSICS (Magnetospheric Undulations Sonified Incorporating Citizen Scientists) project concerns the space environment around the Earth, the magnetosphere, and the analogues of sound in the space within it, fluid plasma waves. These waves exist only at the ultra-low frequency (ULF) range less than 1 Hz down to fractions of mHz. By speeding up our satellite recordings of these waves, however, we have made them audible to the human ear. The MUSICS project involves listening to these waves and analysing them in audio software.

MUSICS student guide [PDF 1,791KB]
MUSICS spreadsheet [XLS 59KB]
Audio files [962 MB]
Audacity audio software (the portable version is available here)

The teacher guide can be found in the teacher area — please contact us if you're unable to access.

The webinars page contains a schedule of upcoming monthly webinars, links to join in, and an archive of past webinars to watch again. Use the login details provided by your teacher.

In addition to the above, the following video playlist from the SSFX project contains more information about magnetospheric ULF waves which may be helpful.

For practical tips on e.g. using the audio software, please see the How To section.

2019-2020 Solar Storms Campaign

This year we are running a dedicated campaign to build on the published work from students last year (see video below). If you'd like to contribute to this research, please use the instructions here: MUSICS Solar Storm Campaign [PDF 553KB]

Examples of Previous Work

Here are some of examples of good quality work previously presented by students at our Research in Schools conference.

Posters: Poster 1 [PDF 868KB]  Poster 2 [PDF 4,025KB] Poster 3 [PDF 620KB]
Talks: Talk 1 [PDF 2,173KB]  Talk 2 [PDF 1,391KB]  Talk 3 [PDF 2,160KB]

One group of students' work has ended up forming the basis of a scientific paper. Read about their discovery here.

Paper on space sounds following solar storms
Archer et al. (2018) First results from sonification and exploratory citizen science of magnetospheric ULF waves: Long-lasting decreasing-frequency poloidal field line resonances following geomagnetic storms, Space Weather, doi:10.1029/2018SW001988

Project leader

The MUSICS project is led by Dr Martin Archer. His research into the dynamics of Earth's magnetosphere has led to high profile results being shared by NASA and NOAA, with coverage by BBC, ABC Australia, USA Today, Scientific American, New Scientist, Xinhua and many more. He is a prominent figure in science broadcasting on television, radio and online and has a long track record of developing and delivering innovative, impactful research-based public engagement projects with audiences underserved in science.