I’m a sucker for music or rather background noise and music is my favorite thing to listen too.Â Doing homework, folding laundry, walking to class, and occasionally even getting to sleep I have something sounding in my ear.
Once in awhile I like to listen to something other that Celtic reels or Daft Punk beats.Â I go outsideÂ and just listen.Â I was thrilled last Monday when I actually woke up to birdsong!Â Nature has it’s own melody going on, one that I usually drown out or simply ignore.Â Taking the time to listen to it forces me to slow down and essentially recharge.Â Who has just sat on the beach and listened to waves roll in?Â It’s the same thing, I just sit under a tree near the CCRB and listen to waves of students instead of water.
I’ve heard lots of nature sounds, but the night sky has always been silent.Â Sure, you can hear crickets in the night or a breeze through the trees but the stars themselves are silent.Â I know satellites make noise, who hasn’t heard Sputnik’s electronic beeps?Â But other sounds I’ve always loved to imagine.Â Do stars crackle and pop like bonfires or do they produce a roar?Â Yes yes, I know technically they can’t produce sound because space is a vacuum, but it’s fun to imagine.Â Do you think the sound of methane rain on Titian is the same as water rain here on Earth?Â Does the storm that is Jupiter’s Red Spot sound like ten thousand thunderstorms with crashing booms or more like ten thousand tornadoes with a whining wind?Â Or perhaps it sound more like the upper registers of a canary.Â Don’t you wonder at all what space sounds like?
Apparently yes, some one does have the same weird taste as I do. WhiteVinyl designs aka Luke Twyman has created SolarBeat, an ambient music box based on the motions of the planets (and one asteroid) around the Sun.
The planets move at the correct speed relevant to each other and every time they cross the line a chime sounds, a different pitch for each orbital body. You can speed up the tempo or slow it down and even pause it to compare the location to the planets to each other.Â At the bottom of the page is the number of times each planet (well, Ceres is an asteroid in the Kuiper Belt) has crossed the line of music and produced a note.Â Mercury is a speed demon, it went around 1031 times before Pluto even sounded once.
While the default speed of SolarBeat is in the middle of the tempo range, I wouldn’t recommend you adjust it too much to either side.Â Too slow, there is a lot of empty sound space and it’s hard to discern a melody other than Mercury’s waily chime.Â Too fast, and a lot of the notes sound together and the pattern of the piece is lost.Â Either way, I can finally listen to space without needing a really big hearing aide or having to bundle up from cold weather. I wonder how long it’ll take for Pluto to cross chime 10 times…
Your planet-listening blogger,