Hearing The Light: How Sonification Deepens our Understanding of the Cosmos and Makes Astronomy More Accessible

Tue 10 Nov 2020

Online Attendance Only


8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Contact Information:

Have questions? Please contact Tracy Lamb.


Speakers: Scott Fleming, Clara Brasseur, and Jennifer Kotler (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Sonification is the process of representing data as sound. Rather than looking at a chart or graph, the underlying information can be transformed into audio and analyzed by listening. This technique offers exciting new ways for scientists to study data, and provides blind and low-vision people a new level of data access and analysis. Astronify is our tool for sonifying archival data from NASA missions. We will discuss the goals of the project and describe how our software converts measurements of a star's changes in brightness to changes in pitch. After learning about Astronify, the audience is invited to play in our online game show to see how well one can hear and identify transiting exoplanets and stellar flares in real data from the Kepler Space Telescope.


The STScI Public Lecture Series offers talks on a diverse selection of cosmic topics, typically held the first Tuesday of every month. The 2020 Public Lecture Series is implementing an online-only format. This lecture will be presented with a livestream to YouTube, and questions can be asked in the YouTube chat. As usual, the recording will also be posted on our YouTube channel. We will, as necessary, adjust from the traditional first Tuesday at 8 PM schedule to accommodate our speakers.