NASA has taken data about black holes and the wider cosmos from the Hubble Space Telescope and turned it into music, allowing people to hear what our universe ‘sounds like’.
The vast majority of us will never experience outer space. It will remain the territory of experts and the world’s richest until travelling above Earth’s atmosphere becomes somewhat affordable.
However, while we all fantasise and imagine our universe via sci-fi, the space agency has released a fascinating project in which information regarding black holes and other galaxies has been transformed into music.
The Chandra X-Ray Centre (CXC) and the science outreach program SYSTEM Sounds took an eye-watering amount of X-ray information and converted it through sonification, turning light waves into sound waves.
As reported by The Independent, NASA said, ‘The wide range of musical frequencies represents the full range of X-ray frequencies collected by Chandra of this region. In the visual colour image, this large frequency range in X-rays had to be compressed to be shown as red, green, and blue for low, medium, and high-energy X-rays.’
It explained, ‘To listen to these data, there is a radar-like scan that moves clockwise emanating from the centre point to produce pitch. Light that is further from the centre is heard as higher pitches while brighter light is louder. The X-rays are represented by a harsher sound, while the visible light data sound smoother.’
Three videos featuring different sounds from areas across the expanse of space were released: the Chandra Deep Field South, which features seven million seconds’ worth of data from supermassive black holes; the Cats Eye nebula; and the Messler 51 whirlpool galaxy.