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NASA Translates Stunning James Webb Photos to Euphonic Music

Sonification, the technique of converting data into audio, was used to create these sounds

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED STATES: NASA has translated data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope to produce sounds of celestial objects as another delight for astronomy enthusiasts. Sonification, the technique of converting data into audio, was used to create these sounds.

This time, the Carina Nebula, the Southern Ring Nebula, and the exoplanet WASP-96b are among the three audio sources coming from Webb’s target.

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The Carina Nebula

Depending on the brightness of its stars and gaseous regions, the Carina Nebula’s audio has a range of pitches. Starting from left to right, the upper half of the image, which represents the gas and dust, has more drone-like sounds, whereas the bottom half is deeper in colour and has more melodic sounds. 

According to NASA, the bright light near the top of the image exemplifies how a brighter light has a louder sound.

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Conversely, lower frequencies and clearer, undistorted notes depict darker and dust-obscured regions in the image.

The Southern Ring Nebula

Webb captured images of the 2,000 light-year-distance Southern Ring Nebula in near-infrared and mid-infrared light, both of which have been translated into sound. The picture captured in near-infrared has a higher range of frequencies since light frequencies can be immediately transferred to sound frequencies, but this changes as the sound go toward the mid-infrared image on the right.

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A single star discovered by Webb in near-infrared light is audible in the image on the left, but two notes are audible in the image on the right, which represents two stars at the nebula’s centre.

Exoplanet WASP-96 b

The exoplanet where Webb discovered the existence of water in its atmosphere is 1,150 light-years away. NASA created music out of the discrete data points that make up the broadcast spectrum, even though we don’t have a visual of this planet.

The agency claims that the pitches of each data point represent the frequencies of light that each data point represents; for instance, light with a longer wavelength and lower frequencies has a low pitch.

Matt Russo, a musician and physics professor at the University of Toronto who worked on sound design, said, “our goal is to make Webb’s visions and facts intelligible through sound’ allowing listeners generate their own mental images.”

Also Read: NASA Delays Artemis 1 Launch Due to Multiple Technical Issues

Author

  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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