Listen to the Music of the Milky Way’s Oldest Stars
When we think about space, there’s usually not much of an aural component, aside from maybe the zooming spaceships and comets common in the fictional Final Frontier. But space does have a soundtrack, and it’s seriously eerie.
Astrophysicists from the University of Birmingham were able to capture sounds from stars dating back as far as 13 billion years. They published the findings in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Using data from NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions, the team was able to detect the acoustic oscillations of stars in a cluster known as M4, which is one of the oldest known in the Milky Way. Using a technique called asteroseismology, the researchers could study the acoustic oscillations and turn them into music, which can actually help determine both the mass and age of a given star.
Lead author Dr. Andrea Miglio said in a press release, "We were thrilled to be able to listen to some of the stellar relics of the early universe. The stars we have studied really are living fossils from the time of the formation of our Galaxy, and we now hope be able to unlock the secrets of how spiral galaxies, like our own, formed and evolved."
As Gizmodo reports, the team was then able to recreate the sounds, which you can hear in all their jarring, haunting, and beautiful glory below. What you're hearing are representations of the sounds trapped inside stars.
If that weren't enough, the researchers also created an interactive visualization that lets you hover over a star to hear its unique output and see its place among the cosmos.