Using data from NASA’s spacecraft, they’ve turned the sounds of outer space into music

Flutist Alyssa Schwartz has teamed up with physicist Domenico Vicenanza to turn data into sound (Dusty Merrill)

If you want to know what interstellar space is like, it can be something like a Not a hole. The energetic shocks from our sun mix with countless other stars together, creating a jumble of particles and radiation. You can hear a file Galaxy party in the form of music.

Since the spaceship Voyager 1 affiliate a pot It became the first man-made object to cross interstellar space, and for decades researchers have delved into its data, transmitted to Earth from billions of miles away, to better understand the mysteries of our universe. Now a professional particle physicist and flutist has turned waveform data from interstellar space — that thick soup of particles — into classical concert music.

New Spatial Improvisations, premiered last week at the conference South Southwest EdU In Austin, Texas, the moment he appears Voyager 1 It left the bubble that surrounds our sun and entered bustling interstellar space.

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Played on a solo flute, the melody begins with soft, connected notes (some handed down) in a low register, illustrating data from within our solar system. This is followed by a gradual increase in size, or crescendo, to indicate that the spacecraft crosses the heliosphere region, or the boundary into interstellar space. Then the melody gets really loud and changes shape, with more jumps to describe the crowded environment of interstellar space.

In the last decade, data-to-sound has become popular, but this type of sonication dates back to the 17th century (Photo: Europa Press)

“We understand that this is related to what the passenger They were measuring, I think, adding another dimension to what people perceive.” Domenico VicenanzaThe music composer and the physicist Anglia Ruskin Universitycreator of the piece and adds: “It’s different because the physics is different… Something very exciting has changed. In this case, it’s the amount of charged particles.”

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Each observation represents an average of one day’s readings of plasma waves, caused by the oscillation of charged particles in space. Towards the end, the notes become more sparse. Pauses represent gaps in the data, since Voyager 1 I had some problems transferring data to Land He also went farther and farther into the universe.

Presenting measurements in the form of audio is known as data sonication, which has become increasingly popular in recent years. Listening to the data can help scientists better identify trends and anomalies in complex data, because our ears can be more sensitive than our eyes when it comes to picking up patterns. It can also help researchers process large amounts of data more quickly.

Others, like Vicenanza, use sounds to create music and better communicate science to audiences. He has already created music from an erupting geyser (using data from ground vibrations) and from distinct pools of bubbling mud called mudpots (recorded with a microphone) from Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park has already been the protagonist of a similar experiment as physicists and musicians interpret their sounds (Photo: Reuters)

The raw data researchers use often sounds different than the melodic music generated by alive. Interstellar plasma data from Voyager 1 They sound like radio static mixed with periodic hissing, eerie tones that Hollywood might have used as strange noises. The whistling became louder and sharper as the night progressed. Voyager 1indicating that the interstellar medium was rapidly condensing.

“One of the first things that struck me when I heard these sounds was how dramatic the increase in the intensity of the sounds was when you heard them, rather than saw them,” he wrote in an email. Stella Okrthe guest researcher at NASA on an interstellar mission the passenger. “Our ears seem to be very sensitive to these changes in pitch.”

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Ocker, who published on the interstellar measurements of the passengerStudying electron density far from Earth, he said, is important, because it can tell us about how it affects conditions within our solar system and vice versa. density measurements the passenger They’re mapping our “interstellar backyard,” helping researchers understand what it contains, how far it extends, and how it affects our home.

When Uecker heard the Vicenanza piece, she said she loved the way the composition captured what it was Voyager 1 He experimented on both long and short time scales. showed a general increase in electron density, as well as persistent low-level changes. The explanation also “really confirms that the constant sense of motion, Voyager moving forward,” said Auker, a doctoral candidate in astronomy at Cornell University.

The new piece of the passenger It builds on previous work by Vicenanza and his colleague Genevieve Williamswhich turned 40 years of data from Voyager 1’s low-energy charged-particle detector, into a nearly three-minute long orchestral piece.

Voyager 1’s interstellar plasma data looks like steady radio mixed with periodic hisses (Image: AP)

In that vocal piece, the violin plays the melody when it is Voyager 1 Start your journey. A piano and horn enter the scene as the spacecraft meets Jupiter and Saturn. The flute, piccolo, and glockenspiel indicate that it is heading into interstellar space.

Data-to-voice conversion has become popular in the last decade, but this type of sonication dates back to the 17th century. astronomer Johannes Kepler Show that musical notes can explain the acceleration and deceleration of planets around the Sun in elliptical rather than circular orbits. Vicenanza showed that he converted the speed of each planet as it orbited the sun into different observations. Higher speeds correspond to higher notes; Slower speeds, with lower pitches.

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alive He uses a similar technique in his works, sometimes superimposing wave data onto tapes as a starting point. His goal is to create the right correspondences between data and rhythms that “can tell a story without sacrificing scientific rigor.”

The melody, played by a single flute, shows data from within our solar system

In some cases, patterns of nature coincide with well-known musical styles. For example, the new piece of music from Voyager 1 It actually featured traditional chord patterns common in Western music. The nature of the statements was a series of straight eighth notes that almost never stopped until the end, periodically leading to a series of arpeggios.

It identified “the tonic dominant chord, which is the simplest chord progression we have in our culture,” he says. Alyssa Schwartz, an award-winning flutist who performed a piece from Voyager 1’s data on South by Southwest. But sometimes data mapping can lead to absurd musical tasks for humans. For example, the last piece of Voyager 1 is 37 bars long, and there’s nowhere to rest or breathe until bar 32.

“I’ve learned that nature doesn’t care about my need to breathe,” says Schwartz, director of orchestras at Vermont State University. (He had to find a moment to catch a surreptitious breath.) Music fueled his technical development, Schwartz says, with challenging crossed fingers and broad, challenging jumps—styles he couldn’t find anywhere else. “What’s interesting about this kind of music is that the composer I’m trying to relate to is nature,” Schwartz says. “I cannot rely on my knowledge of music theory or music history in an attempt to inform the decision.”

Source: The Washington Post

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