Sonification videos and Web apps

The project produced 5 sonification videos in 2018.

True Love Waits:
Jupiter’s Moons:
Black Widow Pulsar:
Play Saturn Harp:
Play Jupiter’s Moons:


They have been viewed over 65 000 times on YouTube and were featured on, Virgin Radio, and in The Outline. We produced 2 online applications (Saturn Harp and Jupiter’s Moons) with the former receiving over 600 000 plays when it was featured on Astronomy Picture of the Day. The source code for these apps is available on GitHub. We have recorded and released English narrations for our video Black Widow Pulsar and will produce 2 more in the remainder of the year. Thanks to the exposure our videos have received, we have also begun working regularly with NASA on astronomical sonifications.

We have greatly expanded our website and taken several steps to improve its accessibility to the visually impaired such as increasing the text contrast and using descriptive link names where possible. We have received positive informal feedback on its usability from several people who are blind including an accessibility expert from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. In the remainder of the year we will restructure the entire site to improve navigation and will ensure all images have alt-text and captions.

We integrated some of our new sounds into a sound-based planetarium show Our Musical Universe at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics. The show was featured on several national Canadian outlets such as CBC Metro Morning, The National Post, and the Globe and Mail. It has become the Dunlap Institute’s most successful show with over 1000 people attending in 40 sold out shows. The Canadian Council of the Blind schedules regular visits and the show has strengthened our ties to the blind community in Toronto. It was also featured in a TEDx talk by SYSTEM Sounds’ co-founder Matt Russo which was selected to be hosted by, receiving 300 000 times in its first day.

We then expanded an idea for an OAD-funded video into an entire 12 hour exhibit for Nuit Blanche Toronto called One Sky. Over 4500 people visited the exhibit which provided a musical experience of the real time night sky inside a large planetarium dome.

The original proposal was to combine our sonification videos into a full length planetarium show. As discussed previously with OAD, the early version of Our Musical Universe was so successful that we have decided to expand the scope of this project through a partnership with the Fiske Planetarium in Colorado. In late 2018-early 2019 we will work with them to produce a professional, fully rendered version of Our Musical Universe or One Sky that can be shown in planetariums around the world.