NASA scientists voiced photographs of the center of the Milky Way, the Pillars of Creation, and Cassiopeia A. To do this, they used the same method that astronomers use to convert digital data from telescopes into images.
A new project takes images from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes and turns them into sound in a process called sonification. This process translates positions and brightness in the telescopes’ images into different intensities and volumes. Sonification allows different audiences to explore space through data.
The sonification project has also turned images from supernova remnant Cassiopeia A and the Pillars of Creation into sounds.
The image of the center of the galaxy was taken using X-rays, visible, and infrared light. The data were collected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. They all picked up different signals, so each device was assigned a different musical instrument.
In the case of Cassiopeia A, there was another approach – here, you can hear the voiced elements: silicon, sulfur, calcium, iron. And in the Pillars of Creation, visible light and X-rays complement each other, forming an unusual melody.