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SONIFICATION PROJECT OF NASA

SONIFICATION PROJECT OF NASA

Context

NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) has uncovered a new ‘sonification’ project that transforms data from astronomical images into audio.

Significance

  • Users can now ‘listen’ to images of the Galactic Centre, the Pillars of Creation Nebula and the remains of a supernova called Cassiopeia A which are all located in a region around 26,000 light-years away from Earth.
  •  A cloud of dust, the birth of a star, or even a black hole can now be ‘heard’ as a high or low pitched sound.
  • This project allows audiences including visually-impaired communities to experience space through data.

What is data sonification?

  • Use of sound values to represent real data, that is it is the auditory version of data visualisation.

How does it work?

  • NASA’s distant telescopes in space collect digital data, in the form of ones and zeroes, before converting them into images.
  • The images are a visual portrayal of light and radiation of different wavelengths in space that can’t be seen by the human eye.
  • A celestial concert of sorts has been created by the Chandra project by translating the same data into sound.
  • Pitch and volume are used to refer to the brightness and position of a celestial object or phenomenon.

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