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Finnish scientists link strange sounds to northern lights

In this photo taken Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, the skies over the frozen Susitna River near Talkeetna, Alaska are lit up by a display of the northern lights, or Aurora Borealis. A common occurrence in northern climates, the aurora was enhanced in this display by solar flares in the days preceding the event. MICHAEL DINNEEN / AP

If you've ever dismissed as rubbish claims by a friend of hearing the northern lights in addition to seeing them, prepare to be humbled. Researchers in Finland say they've detected sounds 230 feet above ground that are likely caused by the same solar particles that create the aurora borealis. You and your friend can now argue whether that qualifies as a "northern lights sound."

Reports Slate:

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.

Start the video below to hear recordings of the sounds, and read more at The Christian Science Monitor: The strange sound of the northern lights