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Analyzing the sound of X-ray data
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: Spitzer NASA/JPL-Caltech; Sonification: NASA/CXC/SAO/K. Arcand, M. Russo & A. Santaguida


Harmony of the Cosmos

The exploration of the space beyond earth has been largely conducted using a single sense: vision. Most of our knowledge of the cosmos, from the big bang to modern times, has been obtained through the analysis of the absorption and emission of some form of light. For a long period of time, our knowledge was limited to the form of light to which our eyes are sensitive, but now we've expanded our sensitivity to the entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. Nevertheless, most of our information still comes from our sense of vision. But we are starting to expand our understanding of the Universe with our other senses. You can now touch the invisible X-ray Universe if you'd like. You can also listen to it too, through a process known as sonification. Sonification converts visual information into sound. Most recently it's been used by the good people at the Chandra X-ray Center to convert stunning X-ray images into sound. The image above shows an X-ray image of the center of the Milky Way. This image has been sonified: the white vertical graph shows the conversion of the image's X-ray brightness into sound frequencies. An entirely new way to experience the Universe; go have a listen.
Published: October 12, 2020


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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!
Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Monday, 19-Oct-2020 10:33:31 EDT