Space — contrary to how it may be commonly portrayed — is not a soundless expanse. Astrophysicists, for instance, have recently captured sounds from some of the oldest stars found in the Milky Way galaxy, giving space enthusiasts a rare audio treat.
University of Birmingham researchers detected acoustic oscillation of stars in the M4 star cluster, which host some of the furthest known distant and oldest stars in our own galaxy at 13 billion years old.
Through data from NASA’s Kepler /K2 mission, they studied the oscillations — which result from sound trapped inside the stars and lead to small pulses or changes in the stars’ brightness — through a method called asteroseismology. Measuring these tones in the “music” will help scientists create a formula to determine stars’ ages and masses.
The hope is to use these sounds to get insights on what the universe was like in its very early days.
“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,” said lead researcher Dr. Andrea Miglio.
According to study co-author Dr. Guy Davies, the stars’ age scale is currently limited to relatively juvenile stars, which then limits scientists’ ability to get information on the galaxy’s very early history.
Sure, the recreated sounds are hardly concert material, but they are also surprisingly musical and quite entertaining. Take a look at this amazing visualization that allows you to play the individual tunes from the stars. You can also listen to the four tracks below.
The findings were detailed in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Just last week, researchers at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland discovered that the universe — as if it is not vast enough already — is expanding about 5 to 9 percent faster than initial estimates from astronomers.
Their findings are deemed crucial in helping scientists figure out the universe’s mystery, where it is believed to be made up mostly of dark matter and dark energy.