Sonifying a comet.

The night of December 8, 2018 was a successful work night for us. Comet 46P/Wirtanen had only reached its closest position to Earth a few days ago and a truce in the persistent cloudy skies of December allowed us to prepare our observation devices to obtain its spectrum.

Rafael Balaguer, in addition to working with the diffraction grating to obtain the spectrum and data of the comet with the Meade LX200 10” telescope, installed the reflex camera in “piggy back” on the telescope to obtain some wide field images. Here we share two of them, with a lens of 18 and 300 mm respectively, in both cases the exposure was 30 seconds.

The little green and diffuse dot of light of the comet is transformed into a data storm when we study it with a CCD camera that already allows us to analyse the structure of its coma and tail.

And with the diffraction grating attached to the camera we can already visualize its spectrum in real time.

The result of the spectrum analysis offers us all the chemical and light intensity information necessary for sonification.

And finally, we managed to get the comet to sing his song, only for us, only for you…

In this video Xavier de Palau shares how the draft of our song “Wirtanen” sounds. “Wirtanen” is the track number 17 of our album “Music from Light“.


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