Daily News for Every Age

Light in the image of the Crab Nebula paired with various instruments


The light in the Crab Nebula image has been paired with various instruments.

Brass is represented by X-rays (blue and white), strings by optical/visible light (purple), and woodwinds by infrared (pink).


The data was converted into sound by panning left to right, and each layer of data was limited to a specific frequency range.


Dark matter data is represented by the lowest frequencies, while X-rays are represented by the highest frequencies. People have been studying the Crab Nebula since it first appeared in the sky in 1054 A.D.

Modern telescopes have captured images of its engine, which is powered by a rapidly spinning neutron star formed when a massive star collapsed.

Each wavelength of light has been paired with a different family of instruments for the translation of these data into sound, which also pans left to right. Light received at the top of the image is played as higher pitched notes in each case, and brighter light is played louder.

On February 24, 1987, southern hemisphere observers discovered a new object in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. This was one of the brightest supernova explosions in centuries, and it was quickly dubbed Supernova 1987A. (SN 87A).

A time lapse of observations made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope between 1999 and 2013. The data are converted as the focus sweeps around the image.

Follow us on