Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A History of the Universe in Sound (Video) *Radio Astronomy: Sounds from Space*


The Big Bang The cosmic microwave background radiation remaining from the Big Bang is the oldest sound in the Universe

What Does It Mean to Listen to Space? Honor Harger explains, "Whilst our project uses what we describe as "sounds from space", it is important to understand that stars and planets are not directly audible. Sound waves can not propagate in the vacuum of space. However, it is possible for radio waves emitted from celestial bodies, such as Jupiter and the Sun, to be heard by using radio technology. In our galaxy, the Sun is the strongest source of radio waves - so it's the most powerful transmitter in the radio sky. Jupiter also sends us strong radio signals. What we hear is very curiously linked with our experience of radio here on earth -- the sounds are a bit like the sound of static between the stations."

Honor Harger: A History of the Universe in Sound Artist-technologist Honor Harger listens to the weird and wonderful noises of stars and planets and pulsars. In her work, she tracks the radio waves emitted by ancient celestial objects and turns them into sound, including "the oldest song you will ever hear," the sound of cosmic rays left over from the Big Bang.

The Sun This LASCO C2 image, taken 8 January 2002, shows a widely spreading coronal mass ejection (CME) as it blasts more than a billion tons of matter out into space at millions of kilometers per hour. The C2 image was turned 90 degrees so that the blast seems to be pointing down. An EIT 304 Angstrom image from a different day was enlarged and superimposed on the C2 image so that it filled the occulting disk for effect (Courtesy of SOHO/LASCO consortium)

About Honor Harger Honor Harger is a New Zealand-born artist and curator who has a particular interest in artistic uses of technologies. She's the director of Lighthouse, an arts agency in Brighton, UK. Her artistic practice is produced under the name radio qualia together with collaborator Adam Hyde. One of their main projects is Radio Astronomy, a radio station broadcasting sounds from space.

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