Astronify Review

Just watched the latest Space Telescope Science Institute lecture, mentioned in a blog post from 10/11/2020

The full lecture title was

Hearing The Light: How Sonification Deepens our Understanding of the Cosmos and Makes Astronomy More Accessible

This talk was really interesting, it covered how data from astronomy can be presented in an audible way, rather than as a graph on a screen or paper for example.

Why would this be important ?

Well, for most people, visual data can be seen by the eyes, if you are blind or partially sited, this this data is in accessible to you.

One of the examples given is the light curve from a star transit, this may look as follows

------             --------
      |            |
      |            |
      |            |                     

So this, would illustrate, how the light from a star, drops when a planet passes in front of the host star.

If we were to express this audibly then the curve would start off as one tone then drop to a lower tone and go back up to the original higher tone.

This makes astronomy more accessible. It is also another way to represent data from Kepler and TESS telescopes.

The lecture explains this far better, but from the Q/A session we learn that this can be found in every day life.

The lecture emphasises that sonification is not about recording existing sound we could hear. So a microphone under water to record sound from sea life is NOT Sonification, however I think they suggested that turning non audible sound to audible sound IS an example, Other given examples, included star flares, which again can be represented. Once you know what to listen for, it helps us confirm the data further.

The team has a website at but I would recommend watching the video first.


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