Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Exoplanet WASP-96 b Webb Telescope Data Translated to Sound | NASA

Exoplanet WASP-96 b Webb Telescope Data Translated to Sound | NASA

Experience the first full-color images and data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in a brand new way. Webb observed the atmospheric characteristics of the hot gas giant exoplanet WASP-96 b—which contains clear signatures of water—and the resulting transmission spectrum’s individual data points were translated into sound.

Data sonifications support blind and low-vision listeners first, but are designed to be captivating to anyone who tunes in. This sonification, which scans the spectrum from left to right, was adapted to a video to allow sighted viewers to watch the progression as the vertical line moves across the graph, ringing out a musical note for each data point. From bottom to top, the y-axis ranges from less to more light blocked. The x-axis represents wavelength of light, and ranges from 0.6 microns on the left to 2.8 microns on the right. The pitches of each data point correspond to the frequencies of light each point represents. Longer wavelengths of light have lower frequencies and are heard as lower pitches. The volume also indicates the amount of light detected in each data point.

The four water signatures are represented by the sound of water droplets falling. These sounds simplify the data—water is detected as a signature that has multiple data points. The sounds align only to the highest points in the data.

This sonification does not represent sounds recorded in space. Two musicians converted Webb’s transmission spectrum to musical pitches to help listeners hear its data. 

Learn more:


Image: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI; Accessibility Production: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, and Kimberly Arcand (CXC/SAO), Matt Russo and Andrew Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds), Quyen Hart (STScI), Claire Blome (STScI), and Christine Malec (consultant)

Duration: 22 seconds

Release Date: August 31, 2022

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