|To create a sonata from supernovae, first you have to
find the supernovae.
To do that composers Alex Parker and Melissa Graham
relied on the
Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) Legacy Survey
data of four deep fields on the sky
monitored from April 2003 through August 2006,
adopting 241 Type Ia supernovae.
thermonuclear explosions that destroy white dwarf stars.
Then, they gave each supernova a note to play,
the volume of the note determined by the distance to the supernova.
Fainter, more distant supernovae play quieter notes.
Each note's pitch was based on a
measured by how fast the supernova brightens and fades over time
relative to an adopted standard time history.
Higher stretch factors play higher notes in
pitches drawn from the illustrated
Of course, each supernova note is played on an instrument.
Supernovae in massive galaxies were assigned to a stand-up bass, while
supernovae in less massive galaxies played their note on a grand piano.
Click on the image or follow these links
to watch a time compressed animation of the
CFHT Legacy Survey data while
listening to the Supernova Sonata.
Alex H. Parker
Melissa L. Graham (Univ. California, Santa Barbara /