Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!

Subject: Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!
From: Shane Turner (
Date: Sun Jul 31 2005 - 07:55:04 EDT

Exactly. The real world, and what we see come out of a laboratory are two
completely different things. X-rays are far outside the spectrum of visible
light... even the "colors" seen in such images can be faked by taking three
different wavelengths and assigning a color value to them.

We as humans often take things outside of our limited senses and adapt them
so that we can see, feel them. This recording of the Aurora done here on
Earth, is no different in that aspect. The interest being, obviously, that
the original wavelengths were the same as that of audio frequencies. The
curiosity being.. "what do these waveforms sound like?"

But the original question raised here was that people were saying it was
beautiful. The old saying stands: Beauty is entirely in the eye of the
beholder. Especially of natural phenomena, or anything related to it.
Someone saying "the sound of the thunder.." or "this sound is beautiful" is
merely one point of view. As is someone telling everyone else that they are
not allowed to like it!

--shane turner

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Wentk" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2005 7:02 AM
Subject: Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!

> At 08:23 31/07/2005, you wrote:
>>There is no real difference. I 100% agree. Both are perfectly valid
>>ways *to make music*. My only objection is when people talk about
>>what the aurora or whatever "sounds" like. It doesn't "sound" like
>>anything. To say that beautiful sounds come from space just isn't
>>true. Perhaps I'm being a pedant here, but just as DNA doesn't
>>"sound" like anything, neither does this aurora.
> I think you're being a pedant.
> If you use Chandra to take an X-ray image of a galaxy, you get a dataset
> that then has to be reinterpreted into a visible picture. Still - the
> picture *is* a visualisation of what the galaxy looks like in the x-ray
> part of the spectrum.
> Literally of course we can't see x-rays, and most of the time we can't
> even see the target object with the naked eye. But that doesn't mean the
> result isn't a valid, useful or interesting way of representing the
> dataset, or that 'looks like' isn't a good description of the result.
> Sonification swaps media and wavelengths, but it's still a representation
> of a data set. So conceptually it's as valid to say that a piece of DNA
> sounds like [a sound] as it is to say that it looks like a chain of
> coloured balls or a string of linked GATC letters.
> The real question seems to be how stupid you believe the listeners are.
> I'm assuming that people are intelligent enough to understand the
> difference between going to Saturn with a microphone and DAT recorder and
> going there with a radio. In the same way that they're intelligent enough
> to understand that short wave radio spikes and squeals are what lightning
> sounds like on a radio, and different to the thunder that's a purely
> acoustic effect.
> Richard

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