Cosmic Cliffs in the Carina Nebula Soundscape

How NASA Turned James Webb’s First Color Images Into Sound

The James Webb Telescope has provided humanity a glimpse of distant cosmic phenomena, and now, you can ‘listen’ to these stunning space images.

NASA is using sound to represent the first full-color infrared images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), giving even those who are blind or visually impaired a unique way to experience the night sky. Thanks to the Webb Telescope, humanity has been able to see the night sky unlike any other time in history.

Not only have amateur space enthusiasts been awe-struck by the beautiful images of the universe, but scientists have been able to learn much more about our galaxy. With Webb’s advanced technology, new information about exoplanets, nebulas, and other space phenomena have been uncovered. By combining sound and imagery, NASA has now given people a new way to experience these wonderful images of space.


Related: Here’s How To Name Planets, Stars Discovered By James Webb Telescope

According to NASA, the sounds that the JWST images are set to are not recorded from space, but instead, sounds mapped to JWST data. For example, with the image of the Cosmic Cliffs in the Carina Nebula, the brighter the light is in the image, the louder the sound. The frequency (or pitch) of the sound is also determined by the vertical position of the light. The obscurity or clarity of the light in more dust-filled areas will also determine the notes and sounds of the image.

Other Webb Images Set To Sound

NASA has put a few other cosmic spectacles to sound as well, such as the Southern Ring Nebula and the exoplanet WASP 96 b, on which carbon dioxide was detected by the Webb telescope. The Southern Ring Nebula is very interesting as there are two different images for it, one being in near-infrared light, and the other in mid-infrared light. Each of the images has a distinct sound. This shows how two images of the same nebula can sound different depending on how they were captured. The WASP 96 b sound is quite unique when compared to the others since water droplets can be heard for each of the four water signatures in the JWST data for the planet.

This new way of experiencing the galaxy will allow those who are blind or visually impaired the ability to appreciate the beauty of the universe. Humans have used sounds and music for expression throughout history, and the night sky is something that has been stared at for centuries and adored for its awe-inspiring beauty. Now, the cosmic images from the JWST can be admired for their audio signature too.

Source: NASA, JWST/YouTube

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