A University of Massachusetts-Amherst professor is giving the Milky Way galaxy a musical makeover by composing a piece for our universe.
'Milky Way Blues'
Dr. Mark Heyer debuted the 2-minute, 29-second jazz piece on the Astronomy Sound of the Month website. The piece was created by using data from emission lines of four different gases that were picked up by radio telescopes across the galaxy. Atomic, ionized, and molecular gases were highlighted in this composition.
An Instrumental Representation
Heyer was able to transform 20 years of data into music by converting the data into notes from a pentatonic musical scale. He used four different musical instruments to showcase the Milky Way galaxy gases. Listeners hear a saxophone blow every time the ionized gas enters the track, while an acoustic bass represents the atomic gases. Both tapping woodblocks and piano notes characterize the molecular gases.
Dr. Heyer Speaks
Tech Times corresponded with Heyer about the track, and he stated that the idea of transforming astronomical data into music came 25 years ago when he and his University of Massachusetts-Amherst colleagues collected 3D data of intermolecular clouds. He decided to use the concept to showcase the Milky Way galaxy through music. He featured the rotations of both the gases and the stars by changing the musical pitches.
Heyer stated that once he received the musical software, it took him several months to create "Milky Way Blues."
"I am passionate about astronomy and music, and this merges both of those passions in a very fun way," said Heyer in a statement to Tech Times.
The Original Composing Researcher
Heyer stated that someone else who came up with the concept of combining astronomy and music. He pointed out that mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler introduced the idea in his book Harmonies of the World. Kepler focused on the planet's relationship with the sun by using music notes.
Milky Way Update
European Space Agency scientists will soon release a map of the Milky Way galaxy. They will be using data captured by the Gaia spacecraft observer that was launched in 2013. The map is expected to be a combination of 25 separate observations of their stars and movements.
Meanwhile, Columbia University researchers published a study in Nature that revealed over a dozen black holes are surrounding Sagittarius A*, a black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The research team looked found the cosmic features by using the Chandra X-Ray Observatory located in space. They were able to use the satellite's X-ray emissions to see the black holes within 3 light years from Sagittarius A*.
Australian astronomers were able to locate a mysterious gamma ray in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The Australian National University research team discovered that the gamma ray came from 10 billion-year-old stars. The astronomers used the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope to obtain their findings.
Tech Times reached out to the Astronomy Sound of the Month website for comments on this story.
Watch the video below to hear Dr. Heyer's composition as the Milky Way Galaxy rotates: