NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

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Ever wonder what a supernova would sound like, or a comet streaking across the sky? As we all know, sound waves can't travel through space, but a new project is underway to translate light waves into sound. The project is called "Rhythms of the Universe," and idea spawned by Grateful Dead's own Mickey Hart in an attempt to "'sonify' the universe."

The project converts the electromagnetic waves that scientists gather from supernova research, which are a high level of frequency, and then turns that data into sound by "slowing down the frequency and 'stretching' it into an audio form." What it produces is "a deep vibrational rumble, punctuated with deeper, louder sounds." Hart then took the audio format and created it into music. The full composition was played on a deserving state-of-the-art sound system and accompanied by a visual presentation of images via NASA and other research institutions. Perhaps next we'll be able to see "Dark Star" by converting sound waves into light.

You can hear supernova sounds here.



Image: "Supernova N49 (NASA, Chandra, 11/29/2006)" by nasa1fan/MSFC on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.

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