A Universe of Sound

Eta Carinae Sonification

Massive stars are known to have major outbursts. Eta Car, one of the most massive stars known, expelled about 10% of its mass in the Great Eruption, creating a small nebula, called the Homunculus Nebula, around it. Data captured in different wavelengths of light reveal different structures, each providing more information about the outbursts of Eta Car. This sonification translates the three-dimensional model of Eta Carinae as it spins around in the center. Data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are played first, with optical light followed by ultraviolet light, before moving to emission from hydrogen atoms, and then finally X-rays from Chandra. Each type of light is layered into the one before it, until the last piece of the sonification becomes a chorus of light and sound.

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The Chandra sonifications were led by the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), with input from NASA's Universe of Learning. The sustained collaboration was driven by visualization scientist Dr. Kimberly Arcand (CXC), astrophysicist Dr. Matt Russo and musician Andrew Santaguida (both of the SYSTEM Sounds project). For other sonifications, please see their linked pages.

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Chandra X-ray Center, Operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. This site was developed with funding from NASA under contract NAS8-03060   |   Privacy  |  Accessibility
Additional support from NASA's Universe of Learning (UoL). UoL materials are based upon work supported by NASA under award number NNX16AC65A to the Space
Telescope Science Institute, working in partnership with Caltech/IPAC, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Sonoma State University.