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Updated January 4th, 2021 at 20:06 IST

NASA's new project can help to estimate what a supernova sounds like; Read more

NASA's new project can now tell what a supernova sounds like. It released 3 videos from its archive and translated different frequencies of light into sounds.

Surabhi Sabat
supernova
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Due to a new data sonification program at NASA, now the earthly beings can get some sense of how the universe sounds. NASA's Chandra X-ray center which has been imaging far away galaxies for 20 years now have come up with their new project. They recently took three images from their archives of pictures and then translated the different frequencies of light into different pitches of sound to show how some of the universe's extreme phenomenons might sound. Read on. 

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Chandra X-ray Center's new initiative shows how universe might sound through data sonification

See this example of a video of crab nebula, which is a supernova remnant powered by a windy neutron star. According to NASA's data sonification, the X-ray light of blue and white in colour has been represented by brass instruments' sound while optical light, that is purple in colour, is depicted with the help of string instruments' sound. Meanwhile, the infrared light that is pink in colour is shown by woodwinds sound. When the video is played, they can see that the pitch of each of the instrument family increases from bottom to the top, where many tones are audible at the same time. The sound can be heard converging near to the centre of the nebula where a swirling pulsar is blasting gases and radiation in all directions. Check out this video. 

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NASA also posted two more videos, one being the Bullet cluster while the other being the supernova 1987A sound. Below is the video of the Bullet cluster that is located at 3.7 billion light-years from Earth. According to NASA, this collision between two clusters of galaxies showed direct evidence of the presence of dark matter. It is believed that the dark matter caused the distant galaxies in the two blue regions of the image to appear larger and closer than they actually are, this is occurring due to a process called gravitational lensing. When this image data was sonified, the dark matter regions were then indicated in the lowest sound frequencies while the X-ray light is represented in high frequencies. Listen to the audio below. 

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The last video is of a supernova explosion called Supernova 1987A. It was named according to the year when its light first reached Earth from the Magellanic cloud located 168,000 light-years away. This video is different from the above two videos which panned from left to right, as this supernova imagery is documented in a time-lapse manner. A crosshair could be seen swooping from the edge of the supernova's halo which then gradually transforms and shows the supernova's explosion evolution from 1999 and 2013. The brighter halo is depicted in higher and louder pitches of sound. The ring of gas can then be seen reaching its peak brightness when the supernova's shock wave ripples through it, which this creates the loudest and highest pitches heard at the end of the video. 

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Published January 4th, 2021 at 20:06 IST

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