Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Contributed Papers

Sonification of Astronomical Data

Wanda L. Diaz-Merceda1, Robert M. Candeya2, Nancy Brickhousea3, Matthew Schnepsa3, John C. Mannonea4, Stephen Brewstera1 and Katrien Kolenberga3a5

a1 Glasgow University, Scotland, UK. email:

a2 NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt. Maryland, USA

a3 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA, USA

a4 Shirohisa Ikeda Project Gurabo, Puerto Rico

a5 Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Leuven, Belgium


This document presents Java-based software called xSonify that uses a sonification technique (the adaptation of sound to convey information) to promote discovery in astronomical data. The prototype is designed to analyze two-dimensional data, such as time-series data. We demonstrate the utility of the sonification technique with examples applied to X-ray astronomy and solar data. We have identified frequencies in the Chandra X-Ray observations of EX Hya, a cataclysmic variable of the intermediate polar type. In another example we study the impact of a major solar flare, with its associated coronal mass ejection (CME), on the solar wind plasma (in particular the solar wind between the Sun and the Earth), and the Earth's magnetosphere.


  • Solar Wind;
  • Sonification;
  • xSonify;
  • Variable Stars