Astounding! You can now ‘hear’ the Milky Way!
NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) has unveiled a new ‘sonification’ project that transforms data from astronomical images into audio. Yes, you read right. Now you can listen to the sounds of the Universe!
Users can now ‘listen’ to images of the Galactic Centre, the remains of a supernova called Cassiopeia A, as well as the Pillars of Creation Nebula, which are all located in a region around 26,000 light years away from Earth. The data has been collected by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope — each of which is represented by a different musical ‘instrument’.
Data sonification actually lets sound values represent real data.
Listen to the sounds here:
NASA’s telescopes in space collect digital data, in the binary form of ones and zeroes, and then convert them into images. The Chandra project has created a celestial concert of sorts by translating the same data into sound. Pitch and volume are used to denote the brightness and position of a celestial object or phenomenon. So far, the astronomers behind Project Chandra have released three examples made using data collected from some of the most distinct features in the sky — the Galactic Centre, Cassiopeia A, and Pillars of Creation Nebula.
NASA’s premier X-ray observatory was named the Chandra X-ray Observatory in honour of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar. Known to the world as Chandra (which means “moon” or “luminous” in Sanskrit), he was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century.