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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Stellar Catalogue Sonification

From the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus to the ESA's Hipparcos satellite

Musician and computer science PhD candidate Jamie Ferguson teamed with the European Space Agency to develop a unique sonification of early and contemporary maps of our sky. As described at the ESA’s website, “The improvement in the quantity and precision of data, as well as the increased information content and dimensions contained in each catalogue, are palpable as the sound clip evolves from the ancient Hipparchus to the modern Hipparcos.” Hipparchus is the ancient Greek astronomer, while Hipparcos is the name of the ESA satellite. The post goes into great detail about how each of the “stellar catalogues” was translated into sound, noting what parameters were paid attention to, and how they were transposed — pitch to star brightness, for example, and volume to distance.

Audio originally posted at soundcloud.com/esa. More from Ferguson at jfergusoncompsci.co.uk.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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