Saturn And 'Forbidden Planet' Movie Share Music
The formation of Saturn's rings is but one of the planet's many mysteries. They look solid, but they're made of particles, mostly dirty ice, from small grains to big boulders.
Credit: NASA

High resolution observations of Saturn's radio emissions have just been made public by NASA; these observations were made with the radio and plasma wave instrument aboard the Cassini spacecraft.

The short sound sample released on NASA's website was compressed, so the twenty-seven minute recording plays back in just seventy-three seconds. The frequencies of these emissions are outside the human audio frequency range and have been shifted downward by a factor of 44 (see diagram at right).


Take a moment to go to NASA's Saturn radio emissions page; select the "click here" link at the start of the article on their page to listen to the short sound clip.


Now, listen to the first few moments of this short excerpt from the classic 1956 science fiction movie Forbidden Planet (click here.). The similarities are startling.


The soundtrack for the movie was created by Louis and Bebe Barron. The film represents the first instance in which a movie was scored entirely with electronic music. Louis Barron constructed electronic circuits that generated the sounds; most of the tonalities were generated using a ring modulator. In creating the electronic circuits, Barron used the equations in Norbert Weiner's 1948 book Cybernetics: Or, Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine.


If you are interested in other musical interpretations of solar system phenomena, read about Solar Ultrasound – Bass Note In Music Of The Spheres.


If you enjoy poster art, you might want to compare the classic 1956 poster art of Forbidden Planet with NASA's cutting edge Sounds from Saturn poster – click here. Listen to more sounds of Saturn at NASA. Listen to more sounds of Forbidden Planet by checking out the soundtrack available at Amazon; click here and then scroll down to listen to excerpts.


(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of – where science meets fiction


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