Excerpts from Seeing in the Dark about the Jupiter Space Station

Dr Timothy Ferris is the author of ten books, many in physics and astronomy, and his latest Sept, 2002 release, Seeing in the Dark, is in the stores at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.


Timothy Ferris wrote and narrated two television specials - “The Creation of the Universe,” which has aired in network prime time annually for the past 15 years, and “Life Beyond Earth,” which premiered on PBS in Nov. 1999.

He produced the Voyager phonograph record, an artifact of human civilization containing music, sounds of Earth, and encoded photographs.

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Professor Ferris is currently Emeritus Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ferris has received the American Institute of Physics prize, the AAAS prize, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.


Text Excerpts from
Seeing in the Dark 
... There is something eerily stirring about listening to radio noise from Jupiter.  "L Bursts", long duration emissions from the Io torus, resemble the sound of huge, distant sheets of metal being flapped in the air, like the offstage effect in a Mahler symphony...

Aesthetics aside, such data can be scientifically useful.  When the fragmented comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck Jupiter, students at Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton, South Carolina , recorded radio noise evidently generated by at least two of the impacts...

...their antenna consisted of an 18-inch loop inside a 10-foot parabolic dish, the design of which was obtained from a magazine article [sic Sky and Telescope].  "We had a very high quality RG-8 cable run until my dog Jupiter ate the 16-foot [cable] coming out of the ground," reported project supervisor John D Bernard. "After they stopped laughing, the Northland Cable Company of Liberty, simply by being asked replaced the 16-foot out-of-the-ground piece of cable for free."

The amateur team of students also "collected unique, unexplained signals from the SL-9/Jupiter collision," Bernard reported:

Astronomers were suggesting that we might hear something in the afternoon if Jupiter's magnetosphere was dramatically impacted [by comet fragments], especially in the higher frequencies [sic 20 - 50 MHz]. We happened to be by the receivers, locked on fixed frequencies, when the spectrum analyzer lit up like a Christmas tree and a low rumbling came over the receivers for forty minutes. It startled us enough that we went outside looking for the blimp overhead... We will not speculate on the origin of this signal (leaving it to professionals) but... one can only ask the question, "Is there seismic information embedded in these waves?" We have the data [but] will leave the theoretical explanations to the professionals... As hunters we have brought home some interesting data, now all we have to do is explain it. 15

Which is often the case with amateurs. Having made competent observations, they may require professional help in interpreting their data...
Audio Excerpts from
Seeing in the Dark -  Timothy Ferris, Reader 

  JSS Jupiter/SL9 Project  
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