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Animations: Data Sonification: A New Cosmic Triad of Sound




animation
X-ray
(Download )
animation
Optical
(Download )
animation
Dark Matter
(Download )



Bullet Cluster Sonification
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)
[Runtime: 00:32]

arrow icon Audio Only Versions

This image of the Bullet Cluster (officially known as 1E 0657-56) provided the first direct proof of dark matter, the mysterious unseen substance that makes up the vast majority of matter in the Universe. X-rays from Chandra (pink) show where the hot gas in two merging galaxy clusters has been wrenched away from dark matter, seen through a process known as "gravitational lensing" in data from Hubble (blue) and ground-based telescopes. In converting this into sound, the data pan left to right, and each layer of data was limited to a specific frequency range. Data showing dark matter are represented by the lowest frequencies, while X-rays are assigned to the highest frequencies. The galaxies in the image revealed by Hubble data, many of which are in the cluster, are in mid-range frequencies. Then, within each layer, the pitch is set to increase from the bottom of the image to the top so that objects towards the top produce higher tones.






animation
X-ray
(Download )
animation
Optical
(Download )
animation
Infrared
(Download )



Crab Nebula Sonification
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)
[Runtime: 00:32]

arrow icon Audio Only Versions

The Crab Nebula has been studied by people since it first appeared in Earth's sky in 1054 A.D. Modern telescopes have captured its enduring engine powered by a quickly spinning neutron star that formed when a massive star collapsed. The combination of rapid rotation and a strong magnetic field generates jets of matter and anti-matter flowing away from its poles, and winds outward from its equator. For the translation of these data into sound, which also pans left to right, each wavelength of light has been paired with a different family of instruments. X-rays from Chandra (blue and white) are brass, optical light data from Hubble (purple) are strings, and infrared data from Spitzer (pink) can be heard in the woodwinds. In each case, light received towards the top of the image is played as higher pitched notes and brighter light is played louder.






animation
X-ray
(Download )
animation
Optical
(Download )



Supernova 1987A Sonification
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)
[Runtime: 00:35]

arrow icon Audio Only Versions

On February 24, 1987, observers in the southern hemisphere saw a new object in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. This was one of the brightest supernova explosions in centuries and soon became known as Supernova 1987A (SN 87A). This time lapse shows a series of Chandra (blue) and Hubble (orange and red) observations taken between 1999 and 2013. This shows a dense ring of gas, which was ejected by the star before it went supernova, begins to glow brighter as the supernova shockwave passes through. As the focus sweeps around the image, the data are converted into the sound of a crystal singing bowl, with brighter light being heard as higher and louder notes. The optical data are converted to a higher range of notes than the X-ray data so both wavelengths of light can be heard simultaneously.


A Tour of Data Sonification: A New Cosmic Triad of Sound
(Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)
[Runtime: 03:38]

With closed-captions (at YouTube)

A new trio of examples of a data sonification project from NASA missions provides a novel way to enjoy an arrangement of cosmic objects. Data sonification translates information collected by various NASA missions — including the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope — into sounds.

This image of the Bullet Cluster provided the first direct proof of dark matter, the mysterious unseen substance that makes up the vast majority of matter in the Universe. X-rays from Chandra show where the hot gas in two merging galaxy clusters has been wrenched away from dark matter, seen through a process known as "gravitational lensing" in data from Hubble and ground-based telescopes. In converting this into sound, each layer of data was limited to a specific frequency range, and different pitches were assigned to produce a range of tones.

In the sonification of the Crab Nebula, each wavelength of light has been paired with a different family of instruments. Telescopes have captured detailed data of the quickly spinning neutron star that formed when a massive star collapsed. Brass instruments play the X-rays from Chandra, optical light data from Hubble are heard in the strings, and infrared data from Spitzer are audible as woodwinds. In each case, light received towards the top of the image is played as higher pitched notes and brighter light is played louder.

Data sonification also delivers a new take on Supernova 1987A, one of the brightest supernova explosions in centuries. This time lapse depicts a series of Chandra and Hubble observations taken between 1999 and 2013 as a dense ring of gas begins to glow brighter when a shockwave from the supernova moves outward. As the focus sweeps around the image, the data are translated into the sound of a crystal singing bowl, with brighter light being heard as higher and louder notes. Hubble data occupy the higher range of notes, while X-rays from Chandra take the lower. This allows both wavelengths of light to be heard simultaneously.

Projects like these expand the opportunities that are available for people to enjoy and explore data from the world's most powerful telescopes of the Universe's most intriguing objects.


A Quick Look at Data Sonification: A New Cosmic Triad of Sound
(Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)
[Runtime: 00:40]

Now you can listen to colliding galaxy clusters, a spinning neutron star, and a supernova.

Data sonification takes information collected by telescopes and converts it into sounds.

This project allows people to explore these amazing objects from space in a new way.

Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope are featured.





Audio Only Versions (Downloads)


Bullet Cluster:
MP3 OGG M4R
All Wavelengths .mp3 .ogg .m4r
X-ray Only .mp3 .ogg .m4r
Optical Only .mp3 .ogg .m4r
Dark Matter Only .mp3 .ogg .m4r


Crab Nebula:
MP3 OGG M4R
All Wavelengths .mp3 .ogg .m4r
X-ray .mp3 .ogg .m4r
Optical .mp3 .ogg .m4r
Infrared .mp3 .ogg .m4r


Supernova 1987A:
MP3 OGG M4R
All Wavelengths .mp3 .ogg .m4r
X-ray Only .mp3 .ogg .m4r
Optical Only .mp3 .ogg .m4r



Return to Data Sonification: A New Cosmic Triad of Sound (November 30, 2020)