NASA Took a Hubble Telescope Photo and Turned the Sound from Nearby Galaxies into Music. Really. - News18

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In space, nobody can hear you scream, is the phrase that still remains popular even 40 years after the release of the movie 'Alien', Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi/horror masterpiece.

While the movie made the context sound like there's nobody around for miles to hear you, but the real scientific reason behind is because space is mostly vacuum, and without the earth's molecules where things are constantly happening, there's not a lot of things happening in space. Space is very quiet.


However, as scientists are constantly finding new things to discover, some scientists have also found a way to create music - from the space between the stars. NASA converted one of the pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and 'sonified' it. Yep. Move over Mozart, NASA just made music from the distance between stars.

The photo the NASA chose to 'sonify' was taken was taken by the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 back in August last year. Called 'The Galactic treasure chest,' the image is described as "spiral arms swirl in all colours and orientations, and fuzzy ellipticals can be seen speckled across the frame as softly glowing smudges on the sky."

This is what the image looks like:

Image Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS Image Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS.

Each visible speck of a galaxy is home to countless stars. A few stars closer to home shine brightly in the foreground, while a massive galaxy cluster nestles at the very centre of the image; an immense collection of maybe thousands of galaxies, all held together by the relentless force of gravity." NASA describes the image.

As breath-taking as the original image, it makes for even more beautiful music. NASA shared their musical rendition on Youtube.


How does the mechanism behind 'sonification' of the image work?

Stars and compact galaxies are represented by short and clear sounds, while the spiraling galaxies emit more complex, longer notes.

"Time flows left to right, and the frequency of sound changes from bottom to top, ranging from 30 to 1,000 hertz," NASA explains.

"Objects near the bottom of the image produce lower notes, while those near the top produce higher ones."

"The higher density of galaxies near the centre of the image," the team explains, "results in a swell of mid-range tones halfway through the video."

To put it simply, the sound you hear, is not recorded. It is made by a computer, and simply reads from left to right. The higher a star is on the picture, the higher the pitch gets. The larger in size the star, the louder the pitch. As the white line goes from left to right, the sound plays as it goes over a star.

Although it may sound a little eerie at first, the sonification does create a rather beautiful melody, especially near the middle, when the sound reaches a galaxy cluster called RXC J0142.9+4438.

Now, you can literally hear the music from the stars.

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