There are lots of ways to look at the universe. Scientists take pictures that show minute details and beautiful colors. They split light into its individual wavelengths to learn details about an object's composition and motion. And they look at forms of energy that are invisible to the human eye. Each technique adds to our understanding of how the universe works. [bring music up]
Roberto Morales-Manzanares has found another way to "look" at the universe: with music. He worked with scientists to create software that creates music from raw data. The scientists were developing a NASA mission called STEREO -- two spacecraft that study the Sun from different angles to produce a 3D view.
Scientists were already converting data into sound. [fade music out, sun sounds in.] This example shows the flow of the solar wind -- a stream of charged particles from the Sun. The sounds allow scientists to "feel" the Sun's rhythms. [cross-fade solar wind to music]
But the STEREO scientists wanted another way to appreciate the sound -- and a way to engage the public in their work. So four years ago, they turned to Morales, a musician and a graduate student at UC Berkeley.
Not only did he develop the music-generating software, he created his own piece from data captured by another Sun-watching satellite. It's called "Turning Point." It provides a new way to look at the universe -- through music. [bring up music to end]
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2008
For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.