Supernovae are among the most powerful events in the universe. These dying stars can burn as bright as a billion suns. They outshine whole galaxies and birth the beginnings of new cosmic bodies. So what happens when you give one access to a grand piano and a stand-up bass?
Enter astronomy graduate student Alex Harrison Parker from Canada's University of Victoria. Parker took three years' worth of supernovae observation data (covering four sections of the sky) from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, sped the video up to 15-days-per-second and assigned each supernova a note. The result can be listened to above.
Parker goes into all the details on his website, but the actual notes and instrumentation choices break down like this:
It's just another great example of astronomical sonification, and the music is quite nice on its own. You can download the audio version of "Supernova Sonata" on SoundCloud.
But of course space music need not line up with astronomical data. A beautiful tune and footage of Neil Armstrong's head will suffice. Just consider the following track, "Neil's Armsong," by electronic artist Mark Van Hoen. The Locust album "In Rememberance Of Times Past " featured the 1987 track, and Hoen himself recently linked the following video on his Twitter feed:
It's an early example of Hoen's work, but he provides an excellent sample of his more recent work on his official website. I'm personally a big fan of the 1999 album "Playing With Time."
Originally published at HSW: Space Music: Supernova Sonatas and Neil’s Armsong