A Tour of Data Sonification: Sounds from Around the Milky Way

“The center of our Milky Way galaxy is too distant for us to visit in person, but we can still explore it. Telescopes gives us a chance to see what the Galactic Center looks like in different types of light. By translating the inherently digital data captured by telescopes in space into images, astronomers create visual representations that would otherwise be invisible to us. But what about experiencing these images with other senses like hearing? Sonification is the process that translates data into sound, and a new project brings the center of the Milky Way to listeners for the first time. As the bar moves from left to right across the image, the sounds represent the position and brightness of the sources detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope. The light of objects located towards the top of the image are heard as higher pitches while the intensity of the light controls the volume. Each type of light reveals different phenomena in this region, which is roughly 400 light years across at a distance of about 26,000 light years from Earth. The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy, called Sagittarius A*, resides in the bright region to the lower right of the image.” - Chandra X-ray Observatory


Keywords: RESEARCH View All Sound Waves Space NASA Data Sonification

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Space Messengers is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts