This recording, compiled from data collected before and during the global lockdown, maps the shift in seismic noise evinced by the pandemic-induced reduction in human activity. Though the effects of individual sources on seismic noise may be small, they produce a blanket of background noise often masking the signals of various geological phenomena, like smaller earthquakes.
Spiders carefully build their webs using different types of spider silk, allowing the spider to control the web’s architecture, tension and stiffness, all of which affect how signals travel through the web. As the spider builds and tunes its silken musical instrument, it also produces vibrations.
Spider silk can vibrate at a wide range of frequencies. When the spider ‘plucks’ the silk strands of the web it creates ripples in every direction, longitudinal vibrational waves that the spider can feel in each of its eight legs. By plucking the web, the spider can receive important information about the condition of the web, or the location of prey, for instance. Plucking can also be a courtship signal: a male spider gently plucking the threads of a female spider’s web as he approaches, to indicate his intent to mate.
Percussive signals are produced when a spider drums its body parts (usually its legs and pedipalps) against a substrate, such as a dry bed of leaves.Such drumming signals are usually used as a vibrational courtship communication between potential mates.
Since the 1950s humans have launched thousands of rockets and sent even more satellites into orbit. One result of this is space junk, or space debris. It can refer to big objects such as dead satellites, to smaller things, like bits of debris or paint flecks that have fallen off a rocket.
Mapped from the sound of a woodblock, you are listening to the hot gasses that emanate from the sun, travelling a million miles an hour through space – a phenomenon known as “solar wind”. Here, the intensity of the sun’s magnetic field is correlated and contrasted with particle data received from a wind satellite, indicating how the sun modulates the turbulence and motion of deflected particles.
Like star flares, solar flares are sudden increases in brightness from the sun accompanied by great bursts of energy. These intense fluctuations in solar irradiance were captured during the 2003 Halloween solar storm, in which the largest known solar flare was recorded. The data was sonified using pitch and rhythm mapping, and documents a flare as it reaches a constellation, a satellite, and ultimately the ground.
The haunting, enveloping sounds you are hearing are rooted in the origins of the universe. This sonification is a recording of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), or “relic”, radiation. Emitted nearly 13.7 billion years ago, these electromagnetic waves date to the earliest stages of the universe and are the oldest on record. Their faint light fills all of space.
Gravitational waves, curvatures in space-time, are believed to occur when a single spinning massive object, like a neutron star, contains imperfections on its spherical shape. This star will generate gravitational waves as it spins. Waves can also occur when
Emanations from the Spiral Galaxy AGC7849, captured by the recently destroyed radio telescope ARECIBO. In this recording, sonified with the timbre of a human voice, an ambling, warbly signal translates galactic matter encountered by the radio telescope to sound. The output signal is rendered fuzzy and percussive, increasing in accordance with the intensity of the waveforms. Even minor changes in the sonification procedure produce vastly different results, a reminder of the variability of all recorded information.
Volunteers from CAMRAS and radio amateurs use the radio telescope for Earth-Moon-Earth radio connections. In this so-called moonbouncing, they receive radio signals reflected from the moon by the telescope and messages from radio amateurs all over the world and pass them on via the internet. They also manage to establish radio contacts via larger pieces of space debris and satellites. Even a small cube satellite that was no longer listening to the commands from its ground station has been brought back into line with the help of CAMRAS-ers.