Tuesday, October 28, 2008

sounds of the universe

we've seen the images with our eyes, but many scientists are attempting give our ears an understanding of the universe by translating the information received from different astronomical phenomena into sounds! NASA released the sounds of saturn about a year ago, and now we are hearing the sounds of stars (including our sun), music of galaxies, and even the sound of the big bang!

the BBC had an article this week where they share the sounds of stars. astronomers have created these using a technique called "stellar seismology," (which i learned in classes as "asteroseismology"). following this link, you can hear the subtle sounds of several different stars, and our sun.

dr. fiorella terenzi ("a cross between carl sagan and madonna"!) has used radio observations to compose some unique songs. she has recorded many albums and toured for a while giving lectures and playing her music, but i can't find any recent tour information on her website.

a physicist at the university of washington, john c. cramer, attempted to recreate the sound of the big bang! you can listen to the sound of the big bang: HERE. the idea came to him after writing and article in 2001 called, BOOMERanG and the sound of the big bang.

i enjoyed the whole interesting story of creating the sound of the big bang, and wanted to share a little snippet here...
The idea of synthesizing the Big Bang sound fascinated me. It ran around in my head for a day or so, and I had a growing desire to hear just what the Big Bang sounded like. So one Saturday morning, when I should have been doing something else, I sat down and wrote a 16-line Mathematica program that produced the sound and saved it as .wav files. I downloaded the frequency spectrum measured by WMAP and used it as input data for the program. My PC has a good sound card and a substantial sub-woofer, so it reproduced the .wav file well. When I ran the program for the first time and the sound started in my office, our two male Shetland Sheepdogs, Alex and Lance, came running into the room, barking with agitation. After they had looked around and determined that nothing terrible was happening, they lay down on the floor and listened attentively, giving the Sheltie Stare to my sub-woofer.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

("a cross between carl sagan and madonna"!)

Does she have a material brother who sings in corduroys and a turtleneck?