Chandra Labs - Universal Harmonies

Chandra Labs - Universal Harmonies

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Truly "Music Of The Spheres!" or "Space Rock!"

This evocative collection, generated from data taken by a NASA telescope in orbit around the Earth called the Chandra X-ray Observatory, lets us listen to some of the most extreme objects ever known, including black holes, exploded stars, clusters of galaxies and more. No garage rock contained within!

Limited to 250 copies on purple galaxy swirl wax.

Proceeds from the sale of this album will benefit the Helen Keller Foundation to aid in their mission to end preventable blindness.

A1 Chandra Deep Field South
A2 Cassiopeia A
A3 Crab Nebula
A4 Supernova 1987A
A5 Eta Carinae
A6 Bullet Cluster
A7 Cat's Eye (NGC 6543)
A8 Perseus Cluster
A9 M16 (Eagle Nebula)
B1 R Aquarii
B2 M87
B3 Sagittarius A*
B4 Westerlund 2
B5 Tycho's Supernova Remnant
B6 Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)
B7 Galactic Center


Dr. Kimberly Arcand’s childhood was full of space. 


Not space as in room to stretch out. Space as in Space; the dark void, the vacuum, the cosmos, the galaxies, our Universe. 


Whether in the bedroom of her youth, which was filled with toy spaceships and images of distant stars, or the town where she grew up—a rural corner of Rhode Island that was perfect for stargazing—space has been a lifelong fascination for Dr. Arcand. 


And though she started out as a molecular biology major, she soon found her way back to the obsession of her youth, by transitioning to studying computer science. She traded the microscope for something more macro, and began, once again, looking skyward.


Her first foray into professional stargazing was working with NASA’s Chandra Observatory before it even launched. This telescope allows scientists to translate high-resolution X-ray data – invisible to the human eye with this remarkable space-based machine – into captivating images  that people outside professional astronomy  could recognize and appreciate. Along with her colleagues, Dr. Arcand helped craft  a new version of scientific storytelling about some of the most extreme discoveries of the Universe.  


After a few years in X-ray astrophysics, however, Dr. Arcand realized that since the work she was trying to make visual was, by its very nature, invisible, paying attention only to the visual image didn’t make sense.


It was a revelation that coincided with two things. First, the fast evolution of 3D printing and design. Second, a friendship and professional relationship Dr. Arcand fostered with Dr. Wanda Diaz, a brilliant astronomer and computer scientist who lost her sight in her late teens. This led Dr. Diaz to develop software that allowed her to listen to stellar data – in other words, to hear the sound of stars. 

Inspired by Dr. Diaz’s idea that humans could potentially become better scientists by listening to their  data, Dr. Arcand, with the team at Cambridge, Mass.-based NASA outpost for Chandra (the “Chandra Labs”) behind her, set off to turn space into sound. She connected with a talented Canadian group called SYSTEM Sounds, which is run by astrophysicist and musician Dr. Matt Russo and musician/sound engineer Andrew Santaguida. Together, they began to translate the data of exploding stars, stellar nurseries, baby stars and, of course, black holes into sound the human ear might understand. 


And though the original material was data that Dr. Arcand has become so familiar with that she can recognize regions of deep space just by looking at a few pixels, the first notes of their collaborative sonifications—a translation of the galactic center—made her jump from her seat. For her, it was as if she was experiencing and understanding this data in a whole new way. 


What Dr. Arcand thought might be a niche project geared at, with and for people with low or no vision immediately took off across traditional and social media, quickly capturing the fascination of a much larger public. 


Since then, Dr. Arcand and her Chandra team have seen their work go viral, have been featured on NPR, the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, BBC, CNBC and many others,  and now, of course, be turned into an album for people around the world to enjoy.