NASA’s ‘Sounds of Discovery’ Is a Beautiful Symphony of Planets

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: September 7, 2022
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We’ve all gazed up at the stars and marveled at the size and wonder of space. NASA has come up with a beautiful way of expressing the rich variety of planets beyond our solar system. Using variations of pitch, this unique arrangement is a lovely representation of the wonder of the universe and you won’t be able to stop listening to it! It truly is a symphony of the planets.

The Wonder of Exoplanets

NASA defines exoplanets as “any planet beyond our solar system”. Most exoplanets are orbiting other stars (similar to our sun) but some are free-floating and these are also called rogue planets. They are not attached to any particular star.

So far, we know most about the exoplanets in a small part of the Milky Way but there are many more out there!

The first were discovered in the 1990s and scientists have found out a lot about them by measuring their size and mass. They have even discovered that some are rocky (like Earth) but others are full of gas (like Saturn). Some have elements like water and ice but others are iron and carbon. There are even molten lava seas!

Symphony of Sound

Even the closest exoplanets are over four light years away from us. We are discovering new ones all the time using a variety of creative methods. The five main ways to spot an exoplanet are radial velocity (watching for a wobble), transit (searching for a shadow), direct imaging (taking pictures), gravitational microlensing (light in a gravity lens), and astrometry (detecting tiny movements).

NASA is also looking for creative ways to present data on exoplanets that will interest and inform all of us. Over 5,000 have already been confirmed and many more will be discovered over the coming years.

They came up with the idea of adding a new sound for each planet discovered over the past 30 or so years. The pitch of the tone is dictated by the distance from their star.

Have a listen! It is a surprisingly organized and tuneful arrangement with hints of a subtle melody. This is a work in progress and is sure to evolve as more exoplanets are discovered. The symphony of the planets really is out of this world!

Next up:

What’s the Largest Planet in Our Solar System?

How Far Away is Pluto from Earth, The Sun, And Other Planets?

How Far Away is Mars from Earth, The Sun, And Other Planets?

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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