Sounds of the universe

Sounds of the universe


no sound in space

In fact, Mars is pretty much on our radar in this regard. After InSight brought us the sound of its wind, NASA showed us the sound of some earthquakes on the Red Planet. Space sounds (or «sonifications») are peculiar and can sound familiar to us, like a forest at night or an orchestra tuning up.

In fact, these sounds of earthquakes on Mars are part of the collection that the space agency has shared and we will show you below. It was the first time in history that the audio of this event was recorded, by the SEIS (*Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure) system in 2019.

A while back, ESA showed us what a solar storm against our magnetic field sounded like, and it was pretty ominous stuff too. This time NASA offers the sound of solar winds passing through its satellites, which sounds quite different.

wailing of the earth

The sonification aligns with these colors, as the reddest light produces the lowest notes and the blue and violet create the highest notes. The color varies over the remnant, but the lowest and highest notes (red and blue) dominate near the center and are joined by other colors (midrange notes) toward the edge of the remnant. White corresponds to the full range of light frequencies observable by Chandra, which is strongest toward the edge of the remnant. This light is also converted to sound in a more direct way, by interpreting the light frequencies as sound frequencies and then lowering them 50 octaves to fall within the range of human hearing. The different proportions of iron, silicon, and sulfur in the remnant are heard in the changes in the low, middle, and high frequency peaks in the sound. The star field in the image observed by Hubble plays like notes on a harp with the pitch determined by its color.

quantum fracture

That does not mean that the various satellites that NASA has scattered throughout the Solar System do not pick up some sounds during their missions. Hence, on the occasion of Halloween, the U.S. space agency has published a playlist in which it has compiled some of these sounds from outside our planet. The playlist is called «Sinister Sounds of the Solar System» and could be the soundtrack of a horror movie.

«You’ve heard the creaks, cracks and squawks of our universe before. Using data from our spacecraft, our scientists have gathered new sinister sounds coming from the depths of space for Halloween. Listen to our playlist full of «groans» and «hisses» from our universe that would scare the most ghoulish of creatures» reads the description posted by NASA.

The playlist is made up of 14 audio tracks captured in different ways and at various times in the space agency’s history. Highlights include Mars Tremors, which are the result of measurements recorded by the Mars InSight lander during several earthquakes.

give yourself a vlog

The project is developed so that different filmmakers from around the world create a community around the composition of the sonorization of astronomical spectra. In the first stage of Sounds of Soul, waves from the Orion nebula were used and a sonorization of data was created that associates a different tonality to each of the spectral lines. In this way, the relative frequencies and intensities of the spectrum coming from the universe are maintained.

Sonidos de Alma will be present at «Chilenos sin fronteras», a meeting to be held at the Corpartes cultural center on November 24 from 9.00 am. Registrations are free at the website