Stars

Image from the Hubble Space Telescope

“This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.” (This My Father’s World by Maltbie Davenport Babcock)

This is one of my favorite hymns, and I’ve always been intrigued by the phrase “music of the spheres.” How many of us finite beings can gaze upon the universe and hear music? One can try to fathom the vastness of the heavens, and be awed by the Lord’s awesome creation. But perceive music…doesn’t seem likely.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:20)

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)

Music is generally attributed to humans, but God, the creator of music, created a universe that sings His praises—whether it’s birds, tiny crickets, rustling leaves, or enormous stars. Those who are blessed with the gift of music and color (synesthesia), see music in everyday life and every animate or inanimate thing. To me, the ubiquity of music (color and song) is assurance of the presence of God, for the universe cannot help but sing of His glory when He is present. God is omnipresent, so the music never fades. We only need to listen to know that He is near.

Stars by definition are A self-luminous celestial body consisting of a mass of gas held together by its own gravity in which the energy generated by nuclear reactions in the interior is balanced by the outflow of energy to the surface, and the inward-directed gravitational forces are balanced by the outward-directed gas and radiation pressures.” (dictionary.com)

Based on this description, one would not expect stars to also be musical.

Science recently discovered that the X-ray patterns of stars can be converted to music. In fact, NASA has developed software that converts scientific data of all kinds into synthesized musical sounds to aid in analyzing data. But it doesn’t stop there, researcher Gerhard Sonnert realized X-ray emissions from EX Hydrae resembled a clave rhythm, common in Afro-Cuban music. (I’m not making this up!)

Sonnert then got the idea to convert the sounds from EX Hydrae, some 200 light-years away, into blues, jazz and classical music. As part of the Star Songs project, he worked with his cousin Volkmar Studtrucker, a composer, to manually convert the ‘data’ into nine different songs. (Isn’t that amazing?!?!) What resulted is beautiful music straight from the heavens.

God left His signature everywhere, and His creation gives glory to His name. He commands the heavens to sing, and they actually do. It’s not a metaphor. We, as humans, merely need to use tools to interpret the songs, and therefore, know that He is God.

“Sing O heavens; For the Lord has done it…” (Isaiah 44:23)

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Click here to learn more and listen to star song examples.

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One Response to Music of the Spheres: The Heavenly Jazz Band

  1. Lawrence says:

    Thanks for the good looking out and sharing.

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