Listen to the “Music of the Spheres” and the Big Bang

Scientists have discovered that stars make sound, if only we could hear notes “50 octaves below middle A” (this according to Thankfully, while we won’t enjoy the full experience of such a primal roar, we can boost the frequencies into our hearing range, and the results are fascinating.

Let’s start at the beginning. The beginning.

Starting in 2003, stories began to circulate about what the Big Bang sounded like. ran this story, and New Scientist posted this story, reporting that “Mark Whittle of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville…has reconstructed the cosmic cacophony from data teased out over the past couple of years from the high-resolution mapping by NASA’s WMAP spacecraft of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the afterglow of the hot early Universe.”

Here is a version of Whittle’s sound, compressed to 5 seconds, and with the volume maintained at the same level throughout: (These sound files are 100K to 500K, so broadband will help, or lacking that, patience)

The First Million Years, as played by The Universe:

Professor Mark Whittle’s web site explains what he infers from this data, and has many more sounds to listen to.

Today I discovered the “World Science” web site, and their article on the sounds of individual stars. One of the remarkable things about star sounds is their variety, and that artists are already incorporating them into music (see the article for “Stellar Music No. 1”). These sounds and descriptions are courtesy of

HR3831, a new class of star with a powerful magnetic field. It pulses every 11.7 minutes. It was discovered by astronomer Donald Kurtz of The University of Central Lancashire in Preston, U.K.:

Xi-hydrae, an old star in the constellation Hydra. It is 130 light years away and 60 times brighter than the Sun. Its sounds, which have been featured in club music in Belgium, are reminiscent of African drumming:

A “white dwarf” or dead star 50 light years away, also in Centaurus:

Explore posts in the same categories: Astronomy, Astronomy Links, Links I Like, Steve's Affinities

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