Science

Iconic James Webb Space Telescope images turned into music

Breathtaking images of distant nebulae taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope that mesmerized the world in July have been turned into music using a technique called data sonication.

Three image sonifications from the first release of data from the James Webb Space Telescope are now available to the public. The soundtrack is based on the iconic “Space Rocks in the Carina Nebula” image and photograph of the South Rim Nebula, which were part of Webb’s first data release on July 13. The third sound is based on Webb’s first spectrum of an exoplanet’s atmosphere. , planet of the hot gas giant WASP-96b, completes the set.

Each of the unique pieces of music is different from the others. The awe-inspiring wall of reddish dust in the Carina Nebula produces a rather pleasant cosmic murmur, while the South Rim Nebula produces more of a horror movie-like listening experience.

Gallery: First photos of the James Webb Space Telescope

The first iconic photographs taken by the James Webb Space Telescope have been voiced.

The first iconic photographs taken by the James Webb Space Telescope have been voiced. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, SYSTEM Sounds)

Voice over translates data into sounds based on predefined parameters. For example, each star in two nebulae emits a different sound, depending, for example, on its size, brightness, and age.

Voice acting is NASA’s way of making the science of the James Webb Space Telescope accessible to visually impaired enthusiasts through the Learning Universe Project.

“These compositions provide a different way to get detailed information from Webb’s first data,” Quien Hart, senior scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, said in a statement. “Just as written descriptions are unique translations of visual images, sonification also translates visual images by encoding information such as color, brightness, star positions, or water absorption signatures as sounds.”

A team of scientists and musicians, with the support of a member of the visually impaired community, worked on voicing so that listeners could discern the key features of each image.

NASA has previously created ultrasonic images of images from its Chandra X-ray Observatory and hopes that Webb’s images will have a similar appeal.

“Music affects our emotional centers,” said Matt Russo, a musician and professor of physics at the University of Toronto who is involved with the project. Pictures.”

Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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