NASA has an ongoing sonication effort, which includes translating visual data into sounds. The resulting “music” gives people a completely different way to experience a given image, including space observations from various missions such as the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The latest installment in the series covers three specific space scenes.
The latest versions of sonication from NASA feature the Cat’s Eye Nebula, the Vortex Galaxy, and the Chandra Deepfield South. NASA explains that the original content from space observations has not been altered to make music, noting that different colors in the images are represented by different sounds.
In the Chandra sonification video, for example, reds are presented as low tones; Purple colors are higher tones. White noise is used to represent the white colors. Although the image appears fairly simple, it is actually quite stunning, representing a long-standing observation by Chandra involving entire galaxies and black holes.
It is noteworthy that the music covers the full frequency range observed by the X-ray Observatory, while the picture is less substantial as the frequencies had to be compressed into RGB colors. “The full range of data that plays as sound can be experienced,” says NASA. “While scanning the piece up, the stereo position of the sounds can help distinguish the position of sources from left to right.”
Joining the Chandra Image are the other two projects featuring Whirlpool Galaxy and Cat’s Eye Nebula. Details all NASA Project, noting cases where x-rays, ultraviolet, visible and infrared rays are used as part of the sonication effort. You can find other NASA sonography videos Here.