That’s the science. But there’s art here, too: the Lighthouse agency commissioned artists to create digital artwork based on science, and one group, Semiconductor, used the CARISMA data to do so. Based on the data, they translated the radio waves (which are like the light we see, but less energetic) and converted them to sound. This has been done many times before, but what’s cool is that they then created an animation based on the converted sounds, an astonishing and odd and mesmerizing animation. Watch:
I have to admit the whole video is stolen by the sequences of the Very Large Array in New Mexico as the dishes move from one cosmic target to the next (seemingly in time with the music, which is pretty cool). Tom wanted to get access to the array, and asked me for help. I steered him to my pal Nicole Gugliucci (pronounced "Grrrflappenklarven"), a radio astronomer, who was able to get him set up with the folks at VLA. So I’m pleased to have been involved with this video, even if in an indirect and small way. And this, by the way, is only a small portion of an entire film he is making. You can find out more about that and how to pre-order it on his Vimeo page.
Every year, I pick my favorite astronomical images over the past 12 months and collect them for your eyeball pleasure... and every year it gets harder. This year, when I listed out hundreds to choose from, I realized I had a problem. So I decided to break them up into categories and then post each group as a separate gallery. It was a huge amount of work, but when you see these glorious images, I hope you'll agree it was totally worth it.
The edge of the solar system is marked by the outer reaches of the sun’s magnetic field and solar wind. Scientists estimate the ship will reach interstellar space in either a few months or a few years.