Now we can hear the “sound” of one of the most beautiful stars
(ORDO NEWS) — Now you can listen to the sounds of space around one of the most impressive stars in the Milky Way.
RS Puppis, a Cepheid variable star about 6,500 light-years away, has undergone ultrasonic data processing. as part of the scientific advocacy project SYSTEM Sounds.
They took a Hubble image of a star and transcribed the light into sound, assigning the pitch to the direction from the center of the image and the loudness to the brightness of the light.
When you listen to the sounds below, a higher tone can be heard at the top of the picture and a lower one at the bottom; left and right will play in their respective speakers if surround sound is active.
As the circle closes with the bright star in the center, the sound gets louder, ending with a single convergence of sound.
Sounding the Universe offers another way to experience the wonders of the cosmos, but there are also some really rewarding reasons to do so.
First, converting visual data into auditory data makes it more accessible to people with limited vision or the blind. It can also make complex concepts easier to understand by offering a new perspective.
It can also bring out details in the data that might be overlooked in its original form, showing patterns, weaker signals, or information that would be lost in noise.
For something like the Cepheid variable star, this would be a powerful tool, as they are some of the most useful stars in the galaxy.
These stars regularly change in brightness; for RS Puppis this period is about six weeks.
Many stars vary in brightness, but for Cepheid variables there is a known and distinct relationship between a star’s brightness and its periodicity.
That way, when you have time for a Cepheid variable, you can determine exactly how bright it is inherently not how bright it appears to us on Earth, but how much light it actually emits.
And if you know how bright something is, you can determine how far away it is. This means that we can use Cepheid variables to display distances in the galaxy.
RS Puppis, the brightest Cepheid variable with an average brightness of 15,000 times that of the Sun, is also surrounded by dust.
As a star gets brighter, it sends a brighter burst of light into the dust. This light reflects off the dust, creating a light echo; this is what causes beautiful silvery rings to form around the star.
By studying these rings, scientists can understand the dust and its properties, which can tell us more about the stuff that fills the space between stars.
This sonic processing of RS Puppis appears to be more educational than scientific, and in any case the star is unusually well studied, so it’s not clear if we’ll learn anything new from the transformation.
But it’s nice to get a fresh look at one of our favorite stars.
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