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My friend Jim Bumgardner has created one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, or rather listened to ever. I’ll let him explain:

I downloaded public data from Hipparcos, a satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 1989 that accurately measured over a hundred thousand stars. The data I downloaded contains position, parallax, magnitude, and color information, among other things.

I used this information to plot the brightest stars, and cause them to revolve about Polaris (the North Star) very slowly, as the stars appear to do. Like the sky itself, this is a 24 hour clock. You’ll notice some familiar constellations, such as the Big Dipper in there. As the stars cross zero and 180 degrees, indicated by the center line, the clock plays an individual note, or chime for each star. The pitch of the chime is based on the star’s BV measurement (which roughly corresponds to color or temperature). The volume is based on the star’s magnitude, or apparent brightness, and the stereo panning is based on the position on the screen…

Here’s the link to the page, I highly recommend fullscreen and the use of headphones. Seriously listening to this is hypnotic, I was it to play constantly in the background of my life. Or at least every sci-fi movie ever made.

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