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The Music of the Galaxies

Though I have it on high authority that Professor Farnsworth’s Smell-O-Scope allowed you to smell odors over extremely long distances, no one, in my knowledge, has yet invented a telescope that could hear the sound galaxies make. For everyone knows that galaxies do not make sound, right? Or don’t they?

Browse over to Astronomy Sound of the Month, and you may just prove me wrong. Some clever bloke created an application that actually render the distances of the galaxies from Earth as sound. As you move your mouse from one galaxy to the next, there’s music! How does it work?

By moving your mouse over any of the 10,000 galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) — one of the most famous images in astronomy ever photographed — a note plays based on the galaxy’s approximate red shift — high notes mean the galaxies are relatively nearby, low notes mean they are distant. [Because redshifts shift light toward the red end of the spectrum of light, they are depicted here by a shift of tone toward the low end of the spectrum of sound.] The average galaxy in the HUDF is about 10.6 billion light years away and sounds like an F#.

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