Pulsars are possibly the most useful object in the sky. Dead stars, rotating incredibly fast and pulsing out a beam of radiation from their poles, often on precise millisecond scales.
It’s this incredibly precise beat that makes them so amazing. We use them to calculate distances, to understand the interstellar medium, to probe the curved spacetime around a black hole. We could potentially use them like a GPS to navigate the stars.
In homage to these amazing objects, Roscosmos has put together a pulsar music video, by translating the frequency of the signal into sound waves, based on data from Roscosmos’ Spektr-R space telescope.
The music cycles through 10 different pulsars, then combines them in a glorious rendition of a small segment of the night sky.
The captions are in Russian, but we’ve provided an English translation below the video.
“Music of the pulsars, based on data from space telescope Spektr-R and the RadioAstron project.
A pulsar is a fast-rotating neutron star of ultra-high density, the remnant of a supernova explosion. Signals from pulsars can be used as timers and navigational points for satellites.
By translating the frequency of the signals into sound waves, you can get music… [individual signals follow]. When you put it together… [medley follows].
Spektr-R is a space observatory launched in 2011. It worked in orbit for eight years, exceeding its warranty period 2.5 times.
Project RadioAstron has made a significant contribution to the study of pulsars.”