Research Output
To uncover the secrets of exoplanets, try listening to them
  From rainfall patterns to share price performance, the usual way to analyse any data that shows something changing over a period of time is to put it into a graphic. Making data visual usually makes it much easier to understand the trends – but not always.

When you’re trying to compare various datasets at the same time, for example, the X and Y axes of a graph quickly become limiting. Graphs are also often more useful for considered analysis in front of a computer than when you’re trying to follow something in real time. A way around these problems is to convert the data into different pitches of sound. Known as sonification, this speeds up analysis by allowing listeners to compare multiple datasets simultaneously. And because the human ear can detect tiny changes in sound across a wide range of frequencies, we can often spot unexpected patterns much more easily by listening to data than looking at it.

  • Type:

    Website Content

  • Date:

    21 October 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Quinton, M., Benyon, D., & McGregor, I. (2016). To uncover the secrets of exoplanets, try listening to them. [Website]


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