Kepler 11: A Six-Planet Sonata

Jul 2012

In this video, astrophysics graduate Alex Parker has taken the orbital information about the Kepler-11 system and, by corresponding a musical note with each planets’ transit, has created a beautifully unique sonata.

…The pitch (note) is determined by the planet’s distance from its star (closer=higher), and they are drawn from a minor 11 chord. The volume is determined by the size of the planet (larger=louder).

The near-4:5 mean-motion resonance of the innermost two planets is audible as the notes “beat” against each other.

A triple-transit (three planets crossing the face of the star at once) in August 2010 is also audible. This event is what is illustrated in the artist’s impression of the system used in cover photo.