Title of the artwork: Starsounds

Author: Brian May, Brian Eno

Date: 2015



Although the human ear cannot perceive it in space, the universe is not silent, but the stars produce acoustic infrasound waves that can be recorded. This is what astrophysicist Garik Israelian did in 2005 by collecting these sounds in an acoustic library.


The universe is filled with billions of stars, some of which we can see from our window. But did you know that they also emit sounds? What if you were told that you can hear the sound of stars here on Earth? What is the physical basis for this?


What materials / media are used in the work and why? 

In 2005 the astrophysicist Garik Israelian collected the sound waves emitted by the stars in an acoustic library which inspired Brian May, Queen guitarist and also an astrophysicist, to create in 2011 the Starmus festival, which unites stars and music, and now the Starsounds project in which Brian Eno actively participated.

Together with a group of scientists and visual artists, this project first took Israelian recorded acoustic waves and accelerated them so that they could be heard.

Subsequently, Paul Franklin and Oliver James, visual effects specialists, created a series of images based on the waveforms of stars, including the Sun. The result is a musical fragment that compiles the recorded waves of the stars and turns them into a hypnotic piece.

What is the significance of the elements of the work?  

The sound of the stars is the obsession of many scientists and the general public. Aware of this attraction, in 2019 NASA created a kind of soundtrack of the universe through an image collected by the Hubble telescope. Although the human ear cannot perceive it in space, the universe is not silent, but the stars produce acoustic waves of infrasound that can be recorded. The perception, altered to a greater extent, of this “sound” triggers our imagination and makes us live genuine space odysseys.

About the artist

Brian Harold May (London, 1947), British musician, composer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, activist and astrophysicist. Known for being guitarist, composer, vocalist and keyboardist of the British band Queen.

Although he is listed as the main author of this piece, in reality the authorship is shared with the astrophysicist Garik Israelian -who made the initial recordings- and the experts in visual effects of the Double Negative studio, Paul Franklin and Oliver James, creators of the images of the stars to the rhythm of these sounds.

Author of the analysis: Carmen Salazar Pera