Online Courses (English)
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Science & Technology

Data Sonification: NASA

  • 25 Sep 2020
  • 7 min read

Why in News

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) has unveiled a new ‘sonification’ project that transforms data from astronomical images into audio.

Key Points

  • Data Sonification:
    • It refers to the use of sound values to represent real data.
    • It is the auditory version of data visualisation.
    • In NASA’s Chandra (sonification) project, for instance, data is represented using a number of musical notes.
    • The birth of a star, a cloud of dust or even a black hole can be ‘heard’ as a high- or low-pitched sound.
  • Process of images into sound translation:
    • Telescopes in space collect digital data, in the form of ones and zeroes (binary), before converting them into images.
    • The images are visual representations of light and radiation of different wavelengths in space, that can’t be seen by the human eye.
    • The Chandra project has created a celestial concert by translating the same data into sound. Pitch and volume are used to denote the brightness and position of a celestial object or phenomenon.
      • Pitch is related to frequency of sound waves. Changing the number of vibrations per second changes the pitch.
      • Volume, or loudness, is related to the strength, intensity, pressure, or power of the sound. Bigger/amplified vibrations result in bigger/louder sounds.
    • The data has been collected by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope.
    • Thus far, Project Chandra has released three examples - the Galactic Centre, Cassiopeia A, and Pillars of Creation Nebula.
    • The Galactic Centre
      • It is the rotational centre of the Milky Way galaxy.
      • It comprises a collection of celestial objects —
        • Neutron and white dwarf stars,
        • Clouds of dust and gas,
        • A supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*(weighs four million times the mass of the sun).
    • Cassiopeia A
      • Located around 11,000 light years away from Earth in the northern Cassiopeia constellation.
      • Cassiopeia A is a well-known remnant of a once-massive star that was destroyed by a supernova explosion around 325 years ago.
    • The Pillars of Creation
      • The iconic Pillars of Creation is located in the centre of the Eagle Nebula (it is a constellation of stars), which is also known as Messier 16.
  • Significance of Data Sonification:
    • The sonification project was led by the Chandra X-ray Center in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning Program (UoL), which aims to “incorporate NASA science content into the learning environment effectively and efficiently for learners of all ages”.
    • Over the years, NASA has been working towards making data about space accessible for a larger audience.
    • Sonification projects like this allow audiences - including visually-impaired communities - to experience space through data.

Chandra X-ray Project

  • The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched by Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999.
  • The Chandra X-ray Observatory is part of NASA's fleet of "Great Observatories" along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope.
  • The "X-ray universe" refers to the universe as observed with telescopes designed to detect X-rays. X-rays are produced in the cosmos when matter is heated to millions of degrees. Such temperatures occur where high magnetic fields, or extreme gravity, or explosive forces exist in space.
  • The telescope is named after the Nobel Prize-winning Indian astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
    • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar 's work implied that stars more massive than the so-called Chandrasekhar limit would eventually collapse to become objects so dense that not even light could escape it.
      • Chandrasekhar limit is the theoretical maximum mass a white dwarf star can have and still remain a white dwarf.
    • Although this finding was received with some skepticism at the time, it went on to form the foundation of the theory of black holes, eventually earning him a Nobel Prize in physics for 1983.

The Hubble Space Telescope

  • It is one of the largest and most versatile telescopes in service.
  • It is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit (540km above Earth) in 1990.
  • Hubble’s four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectra.

Black Holes

  • The term ‘black hole’ was coined in the mid-1960s by American Physicist John Archibald Wheeler.
  • It refers to a point in space where the matter is so compressed as to create a gravity field from which even light cannot escape.
  • Black-holes were theorized by Albert Einstein in 1915.

Supernova

  • A supernova is the explosion of a star. It is the largest explosion that takes place in space.
  • A supernova happens where there is a change in the core, or centre, of a star.

Neutron stars

  • Neutron stars comprise one of the possible evolutionary end-points of high mass stars.
  • Once the core of the star has completely burned to iron, energy production stops and the core rapidly collapses, squeezing electrons and protons together to form neutrons and neutrinos.
  • A star supported by neutron degeneracy pressure is known as a ‘neutron star’, which may be seen as a pulsar if its magnetic field is favourably aligned with its spin axis.

Source IE

SMS Alerts
 

Please login or register to view note list

close

Please login or register to list article as bookmarked

close
 

Please login or register to make your note

close

Please login or register to list article as progressed

close

Please login or register to list article as bookmarked

close