The Sounds of Stars 2
October 22, 2021
Can the sounds of stars be heard by human ears? The answer is yes. Astronomical data collected by NASA’s telescopes in space are being converted into astounding sounds and amazing music, allowing us to be able to hear information from cosmic objects as well as see it.
Can the sounds of stars be heard by human ears? The answer is yes. Data sonification from NASA missions provides a new method to enjoy an arrangement of cosmic objects. It translates information collected by various missions – such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope – into sounds.
Data sonification allows users to be able to hear information from cosmic objects as well as see it. Data collected by telescopes is most often turned into silent charts, plots, and images. A “sonification” project led by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and NASA’s Universe of Learning program transforms otherwise inaudible data from some of the world’s most powerful telescopes into sound. This effort makes it possible to experience data from cosmic sources with a different sense: hearing.
The latest installment of this new NASA sonification project features a region where stars are forming (Westerlund 2), the debris field left behind by an exploded star (Tycho or Tycho’s Supernova Remnant), and the region around arguably the most famous black hole (M87 or Messier 87). Each sonification has its own technique to translate the astronomical data into sounds that humans can hear.
In each data sonification, astronomical data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes are converted into sounds. Data sonification maps the data from these space-based telescopes into a form that users can hear instead of only see, embodying the data in a new form without changing the original content.
(Tycho’s Supernova Remnant)