Ethereal

Listen! NASA set Webb Telescope data to music — and its gorgeous

Let the music take you far, far away.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

As if JWST’s images weren’t stunning enough to look at, you can now listen to them as well.

This week, NASA released sonifications of three JWST targets: the Southern Ring Nebula, exoplanet WASP 96-b, and the cosmic cliffs near the Carina Nebula.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

A collaborative team of scientists and musicians used data from JWST to create a score for each image based on features observed by the telescope.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

This project was initiated to give blind and low-vision listeners an accessible way to observe the new findings.

And anyone can tune in.

“Our goal is to make Webb’s images and data understandable through sound — helping listeners create their own mental images.”

Matt Russo, a University of Toronto physicist and musician who worked on the project, in a press release.

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If you were floating through space, this is not what you would hear.

These tracks are an artistic representation of the data collected by JWST, and provide a new way to envision the universe.

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Here’s what 4 JWST images sound like:

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

4. Cosmic Cliffs

Traverse the auditory peaks and valleys of this slice of sky near the Carina Nebula.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

You can also see the score played along the landscape of the cliffs.

(Click the sound button in the lower left corner to hear the music).

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Kimberly Arcand (CXC, SAO), Matt Russo (SYSTEM Sounds), Andrew Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds), Quyen Hart (STScI), Claire Blome (STScI), Christine Malec

3. Southern Ring Nebula (NIRCam)

NASA released two soundtracks for this target: one from near-infrared data (pictured above) and another in mid-infrared.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Here’s a visualization of the score.

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Kimberly Arcand (CXC, SAO), Matt Russo (SYSTEM Sounds), Andrew Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds), Quyen Hart (STScI), Claire Blome (STScI), Christine Malec

2. Southern Ring Nebula (MIRI)

In mid-infrared, this target sounds a bit different.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI

Now, follow along with the score.

Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Kimberly Arcand (CXC, SAO), Matt Russo (SYSTEM Sounds), Andrew Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds), Quyen Hart (STScI), Claire Blome (STScI), Christine Malec

1. WASP 96-b

Though there isn’t a crisp image of this target, JWST used the chemical signatures identified in this planet’s atmosphere to make an eerie tune.

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Kimberly Arcand (CXC, SAO), Matt Russo (SYSTEM Sounds), Andrew Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds), Quyen Hart (STScI), Claire Blome (STScI), Christine Malec

Follow along here with the score.