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Space Media Music Science

Stellar Seismologists Record "Music" From Stars 102

niktemadur writes "The BBC reports that a French team of stellar seismologists, using the COROT Space Telescope, have converted stellar oscillations into sound patterns, a relatively new technique that, according to Professor Eric Michel of the Paris Observatory, is already giving researchers new insight into the inner workings of stars. The subtly pulsating, haunting sounds are very similar to artist Aphex Twin's minimalistic nineties album 'Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2,' only stripping away what little melody it had and leaving just the beat. These and many more recordings from space can be accessed at the Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics website, also known as the Jodcast."
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Stellar Seismologists Record "Music" From Stars

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  • by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:52PM (#25499631)
    ..the RIAA looks to the stars for a new revenue stream.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:53PM (#25499653)
    And are these stars receiving any royalties from these recordings?
    If not, then would that make these seismologists Space Pirates?
  • Yes, this is terribly informative. Maybe it would be better to describe it as like the Art Of Noise, minus any of the group.
    • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @01:01PM (#25499829) Journal

      Actually using sound to view data from anything can be quite useful. I have worked in telcomms for some time, and in days gone by listening to the demodulated data as audio from a paging signal was very useful. Engineers can listen to it and know if it is 'right' or 'wrong' without a scope, data tracer, or any equipment at all other than a pager with audio output. I've actually located faults using this.

      Using charts is a way for us to 'see' data in a form that we can readily digest. Using audio to 'hear' the signals from space will allow our brains to quickly digest what the data shows. I'd like to see more of this. We use IR cameras to see wavelengths that we do not typically see with our eyes. Why not use audio to look at radiation from space?

      • by jd ( 1658 )

        Now that I completely agree with. Diagnostics and data analysis via the patterns inherent in sound makes a lot of sense - the human brain is designed to do pattern recognition in raw data for starters and computers could theoretically do pattern recognition for large volumes (no pun intended) of data far more efficiently this way because you are dealing with the information holistically rather than as a serial stream. You can also identify subtle differences in stars by means of sound - a subtle variation t

      • There was a story several years ago, either on NPR, or Discovery Channel, about a scientist/doctor in california who had put MRIs to music, was a very interesting story. Not sure if this was programming or something that just happened naturally, but normal MRI sounded harmonius, non normal MRI was discordant.

        I have just spent a while looking for that story on google with no luck, there are just too many hits.

        If someone know what I am talking about would welcome the link.
      • While I haven't gotten much practical use out of it, I remember doing RAM scans of my Amiga over 10 years ago, and being able to detect what kind of data was in the memory by listening to it in a sound editor. Played at high speed, it was much easier and faster than paging through a memory dump. Locating text is easy, too, since it has a distinct, quieter sound than binary.

        It just sounds really cool, too, since back in those days things weren't compressed when in memory, but they were more condensed, so t

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        We listen to the sound the gradients in an MR scanner make all the time. You can tell what sequence someone is running by the sound. At the main annual meeting there's a presentation of recordings. I think they put out a CD.

  • Stellar? (Score:2, Funny)

    by MikeTheMan ( 944825 )
    Am I the only one who interpreted 'stellar' to mean 'really awesome'? As in 'Some really awesome, talented seismologists Record Music From Stars'?

    Man, that was confusing.
  • This just shows that Pythagoras and Kepler were right! [skyscript.co.uk]

    After discovering The Music Of The Spheres, the pair of philosopher-scientists went on to form the ambient electronica duo P&K. After three moderately successful albums they split, citing creative differences. Pythagoras now teaches high school math in Wichita, KS. Kepler is currently in the Shady Acres Sanitarium.

    Roll credits.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by night_flyer ( 453866 )

      goes back slightly further back than that...

      Job 38:7 (King James Version)

        7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

      • I think the Valacuenta goes back at least as far and has a slightly different take on it all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jabbrwokk ( 1015725 )
        Good point. But I believe morning stars is another term used to describe angels (Isaiah 14:13-14 KJV):

        How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

        And apparently there's a link to the Latin root of Lucifer. [wikipedia.org]

        Conclusion: Lucifer was thrown out of heaven for singing too loud and messing up the Music of the Spheres.

      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        The most realistic dates for the writing of Job (http://www.jstor.org/pss/1455552) are roughly contemporary with Pythagoras (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoras).

    • Clearly, you need to pitch this idea to Kate Beaton [katebeaton.com].
      • Wow, those comics are either some sophisticated post-modern irony or a big bag of suck. You made me look, though ;)
  • The origin of binaural [wikipedia.org] beats has been found.

    Scientists would explain, but they're all apparently in the lab "tripping" out to ACID STARDUST.
  • 4 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements--surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
  • Mogwai has apparently been doing this [youngteam.co.uk] since 1997.
  • Jodrell Bank Center... is that where Kla-El does his banking
  • Richard James should sue these thieving bastards. Being a star is no excuse, right RIAA?
  • I listened to the sound and there was no similarity at all.
    They sounded like cheesy 50's sci-fi sound effects which were based on frequency modulation and oscillation ... just like these stars "sounds" are.

    • by Threni ( 635302 )

      I wouldn't worry about whether or not anyone hates Aphex Twin or his music. But it's possible that, from the descriptions of the sounds here, they're comparing it with his 'Selected Ambient Works Vol 2'. I love the album, and got my copy from a guy I shared a house with who worked at a record store at the time, and people were taking that (double) CD back in droves, as it was completely different to his earlier disks. Personally I think Aphex Twin's output is 80% shit, but the 20% that isn't (Selected A

  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @01:57PM (#25500673) Homepage

    From Wikipedia:

    Dr. Fiorella Terenzi is an Italian astrophysicist, author and musician who is best known for taking recordings of radio waves from galaxies and turning them into music. She received her doctorate from the University of Milan but is currently based in the United States.

    Terenzi is known for her CD-ROM Invisible Universe which combines music and poetry with astronomy lessons, and for a sexually charged 1998 book about science entitled Heavenly Knowledge. She has also released a number of albums of her music.

    She is known as an Apple Computer "AppleMaster", and has collaborated with the likes of Thomas Dolby, Timothy Leary, Herbie Hancock and Ornette Coleman.

    When she isn't performing, she teaches astronomy at Pierce College in Los Angeles. As of 2006, she was teaching astronomy at Brevard Community College in Cocoa, FL.

    Home Page: http://www.fiorella.com/fiorprofile.htm [fiorella.com]

    Videos: http://video.fiorella.com/ [fiorella.com]

    • by x1n933k ( 966581 )
      Obviously you don't understand how with the affects of the Internet change our short term and long term memories.

      Here on Slashdot, we'll often see the news reel within the same day or several times in the same week. How can you expect us to remember some Italian bombshell with crazy hair from the early 90's.


      • I never forget Italian bombshells!

        I still remember Monica Vitti, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, and Sylva Koscina, not to mention the ultimate, Sophia Loren.

        Nerds! No consciousness of sex!

    • Just unbelievely kitch.

  • So where is the Galactic equivalent of the RIAA - the people sharing the music from those stars must be stopped!
  • The Giant Karl Rove space goat IS playing the universe like a fiddle.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There are a million different ways you could convert any data into audio.

    How do the audio recordings relate to the radio signals they received? Without that information, the audio is meaningless. I could make spacey sounding haunting oscillations from data about the movements of my bowels, it's all about how you represent the data.

    The only time I have heard true 'sounds from space' is from VLF radio, as the radio frequencies are actually in the audio range.

  • The Doctor did it already... nothing spectacular, but eerily good.
  • Warn me about the stars that sound like "come to daddy" or "windowlicker."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...every time i compile a new kernel:

    cat vmlinuz >> /dev/dsp

    now *that* is geek music

  • I wonder what effect this may have had on the development of music in humans. Can we somehow discern these oscillations, like magnetic fields in the brains of pigeons?

    Suppose the timing of all our music is based on oscillations of our own star, Sol. What might the effects be on a planet that orbits a much different star. A planet under the effects of multiple stars? Would an extraterrestrial culture in such a situation have more complex music if it was under such effects?

  • My God, It's full of stars!

  • I first read the title as "Stellar Scientologists Record "Music" From Stars" then read it correctly, but wondered if it had to do with the RIAA. I think this is a sign that my brain needs more sleep. ;-)

  • erm... the Jodcast is the _podcast_ from Jodrell Bank, not the website. Try http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/ [man.ac.uk] for the actual website for Jodrell Bank.

    But the Jodcast is well worth a listen to anyway.

  • ..but now EVERYONE is listening to them.
  • From the sound of it and from looking at spectrograms of the sounds it question I can safely claim that a few things are misleading about these sounds. I have every reason to think that these sounds have been generated by spectrogram synthesis, that is they analysed the original astro-seismic signal into a spectrogram (an image which is a plot of the frequency components and their amplitude over time) and resynthesised it into a sound so that we could hear it but also so that it wouldn't be too long and bor

    • I correctly resynthesised the two first sounds. The resulting sound can be found here [wikiupload.com] or alternatively here [soundupload.com].

      As one could have expected, there's nothing remarkable about these sounds, no eerie music, no mysteriously rhythmic beat, it's just one of the band-limited noise you find everywhere in nature, be it the ambient underwater sound of the oceans, the Earth's "hum", the wind, etc...

      • very cool - although i can't speak to your accuracy you might post some supporting documents to fully show you've found a flaw in the report. not to take any fun out of it, because it's pretty cool. But facts are facts..!
        • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

          you might post some supporting documents to fully show you've found a flaw in the report

          Well very simply, here [imageshack.us] is a spectrogram of the two first sounds. It ranges vertically from 200 Hz to 700 Hz, each vertical pixel representing 1 Hz, the horizontal scale is 10 pixels per second and the amplitude is linear with a gamma of 1.5. Each modulated sine is what constitutes a bright horizontal bar, and as you can see each bar is regularly spaced by about 11.3 Hz. It's also clear enough that each "bar" is a sine modulated by what looks like noise, which supports my claim that the original spectrogram

  • Gordon Way of WarForward technologies called. He's filing suit for infringing on his Anthem(c) product, developed by Richard McDuff. Read more Dirk Gently[by Douglas Adams]!
  • or did anyone else initially read this as "stellar scientologists"?
  • Am I the only one that thinks this is actually the background FX track from nearly every 40's-50's low budget scifi movie?

    Seriously, the two sample star sounds are a lot like the intro to Forbidden Planet.
  • The sample they have for the sun sounds eerily like the song Foil from IDM artist Autechre. Song can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghizXIOoHtc [youtube.com]
  • stripping the "melody" away from an ambient song leaves you with only a pulse. it's not surprising in any way that stellar *oscillations* converted to sound result in a pulse. there's science, and there's just random grabbing at stupidity to justify a research grant.
  • I didn't know space actually sounded like a sci-fi movie!

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?