A Galaxy of Suns creatively interprets stellar information to generate one-off compositions specific to the exact location of each app user. The Earth is treated as a giant, spinning music box with individual stars triggering sounds and visuals as they cross over the horizon. These aural and visual expressions are related to data from the Hipparchos astronomical catalogue.
The rhythms of the composition are driven purely by the timing of the stars as they rise or set. Pitch is mapped to each star’s colour ID, a numerical value that indicates the real-life colour of the star and communicates its size, age and chemical composition. Panning is accurate to the star’s location on the horizon, and volume dictated by the distance the star is from Earth. App visuals closely map these parameters, subtle ‘starbursts’ forms appearing within the colour field, accurate to the star's location on the horizon and rising or falling accordingly. The colour is based on the temperature and chemical composition of each star, with rapidly burning hot blue stars mapped to higher pitches and cooler old red stars mapped to the bass notes. Flashing briefly before fading to midnight, these colour fields provide a glimpse into each of these Suns – each a potential home to its very own solar system with a unique life story and relationship to the history of the universe.
A Galaxy of Suns offers an alternate way to imagine our relationship to stars and experience their presence, even in the most unlikely of locations or situations – deep in the forest, amongst bright city lights, during cloudy nights or in full midday sunshine.
Trevor H. Smith, Visual Arts South West