Communion Of Dreams

Music of the (Exploding) Spheres
May 26, 2011, 10:35 am
Filed under: Art, Astronomy, Music, Science


From April, 2003 until August, 2006, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope watched four parts of the sky as often as possible. Armed with the largest digital camera in the known universe, CFHT monitored these four fields for a special type of supernova (called Type Ia) which are created by the thermonuclear detonation of one or more white-dwarf stars. These explosions are extremely energetic, and can be seen across vast distances in space.

The resulting 241 Type 1a supernova which were documented were then assigned a musical note, according to distance, duration, and intensity. A delightful little ‘sonata’ was the result:

It may seem a bit silly to do this, assigning an arbitrary note to such data. But I think it helps non-scientists appreciate some aspect of the research and what it means. No, don’t take the whole thing literally, or even very seriously – but rejoice in this artistic interpretation of the wonder of the universe.

Jim Downey

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: