Pismis 24 is a star cluster in the diffuse nebula NGC 6357 located in the constellation Scorpius, about 8,000 light-years from Earth. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has released work that turns this beautiful star cluster into a “sound” and summarizes it in a short video of about 40 seconds.
Please enjoy the sound first
This method of transmitting information such as images using non-verbal sounds is called “sonization”. In Pismith 24’s sonication, “sounds” created from the star cluster and nebula data are played as if sweeping from top to bottom of the image.
According to the Goddard Space Flight Center, the stars in the cluster will be played with a timbre that simulates a classical guitar, and the nebula will play with a continuous sound like an ambient sound. In either case, the brighter the sound, the louder and higher the pitch. Additionally, the red in the image is said to be for low range, green to mid range, and blue to high range.
If you listen to the Pismith 24’s audible sounds, the contrast between the first half, where classical guitar sounds indicate the activity of star clusters, and the second half, where the mysterious nebula sounds, is remarkable. It’s not a composed tune, but mixed with the beauty of the heavenly bodies, it’s a more moving piece.
- Image credit: NASA – ESA – Jesús Maíz Apellániz (The Astrophysical Institute of Andalusia, Spain) Acknowledgments: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble); Sonification: System Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)
- Goddard Space Flight Center Data correction: Pismis 24
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