NASA transforms space photos into sound for the blind

The NASA Sonifications project opens up a new way to perceive the beauty of cosmic images – through sound. Three innovative algorithms transform visual information captured by NASA telescopes into soundscapes, allowing you to enjoy the sounds of space objects.

The nebula, known as MSH 15-52, is shaped like a human palm and provides insight into how similar objects form. Photo: Chandra 

New audio recordings of a famous nebula, a distant galaxy and an extinct star have been created based on data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as the James Webb and Hubble space telescopes. Previous sounds have included the sounds of a black hole and galaxy interactions.

Listen to the famous Nebula IC 443 in the constellation Gemini. The sounds are played from top to bottom, shading the light with louder sounds. Red shades have a low pitch, and blue shades have a high pitch. The sound of water flowing in the background is represented by the background stars of the nebula. 

And this sound is the spiral galaxy Messier 74, similar to our Milky Way. Clockwise rotation is marked by a decrease in frequency for objects far from the center and an increase for closer ones. Mixed data from different telescopes creates a unique soundscape.

Also listen to the object MSH 15-52 – the cemetery of the dead star. A supernova explosion was seen about 1,700 years ago, creating an explosive wave blowing charged particles away from the remnants of the star. Sensing begins at the bottom, and a cloud of particles moves upward towards the light from the core of a dead star. 

The new NASA documentary Listen to the Universe talks about the creation of Sonifications and its impact on people, including the blind and visually impaired. The film is available for free viewing on the NASA website.

Earlier, we reported on how NASA turned an image of interacting galaxies into music.

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