The ALMA Music Box, currently on display in Japan, now available on iTunes
R Sculptoris, a massive red giant star located roughly 1000 light-years away in the constellation of Sculptor, is in the final stages of its life, and is violently expelling massive amounts of gas into space as it depletes its supply of fuel.
The ALMA Music Box plays musical disks inscribed with information from ALMA’s observations of this dying star, based on images taken at 70 different radio frequencies. The Music Box, a collaboration between the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, PARTY New York, and Qosmo, plays 70 musical disks, each corresponding to a different radio frequency observation. The disks feature holes corresponding to points of intensity in the emission.
The ALMA Music Box will be on display at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan until November 15, 2015. The exhibition also features a miniature model of a Japanese 12-meter ALMA antenna and two receiver cartridges, which are installed into the antennas to receive radio waves.
The exhibition’s success recently prompted the production of the crowd-funded compilation CD “Music for a Dying Star.” This audio set features an assortment of melodies from the box integrated into original tracks from 11 international artists, including Taeji Sawai, Takagi Masakatsu, Throwing a Spoon, and Christian Fennesz.
ALMA, an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile.