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Data from NASA telescopes turned into music: listen to how the galaxy sounds

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Artists can turn everything we see into sound

There is an unscientific theory that the universe is filled with music, and hearing it can help you understand its essence. Unfortunately, humanity is not able to hear these sounds. Or perhaps it hasn't been able to until now.

Composer Sophie Katzner used data from NASA's Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer telescopes to recreate the sound of the Milky Way galaxy with the help of the Ensemble Éclat orchestra. The video, titled Where Parallel Lines Converge, was published on NASA's YouTube channel.

Space telescopes typically capture data in a visual format rather than an audio format, but scientists and artists sometimes use a process called sonification to convert data into sound.

Sonification is the transformation of data into sound. During this process, scientists and artists assign a meaning to different data that is specific to the sound that the human ear can hear. This helps people "listen" to information, not just see it.

According to Interesting Engineering, this data transformation is often used by scientists. It allows them to simplify the presentation and interpretation of scientific and complex information. Artists use it to create melodies.

"It's like writing a fictional story that is largely based on real facts. We take data from space, translate it into sound, and give it a new, human sound," Katzner explained.

The sonification project called "Universe of Sound" started back in 2020 and involves converting digital data, such as X-rays and radio radiation captured by telescopes, into musical notes and sounds.

As part of the project, scientists are focusing on data from a specific point in the center of our Milky Way galaxy, where the massive black hole Sagittarius A is located. This target area, which stretches about 400 light-years across, contains key information about the behavior of the supermassive black hole and the surrounding cosmic landscape.

The data used in the new composition is divided into three parts, each focusing on specific astronomical features of the image: the X-ray binary star system, the arc-like filaments, and the Sagittarius A supermassive black hole.

The goal of the data transformation is to provide an auditory experience that matches the details of the Milky Way center.

Kastner explained that she did not use the overall cosmic picture, but rather individual extraterrestrial phenomena, which she turned into music. According to her, composers do something similar when they write music to accompany a particular scene in a movie.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that scientists have seen the unique space cataclysm "Tasmanian Devil" for the first time.

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