Sonification of the Butterfly Nebula

  • Released Tuesday, November 16, 2021

This spectacular Hubble image of the Butterfly Nebula shows a colorful view of star death. The "wings" of the butterfly are regions of gas heated to more than 36,000° F (about 20,000° C) that are tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour (966,000 kph)!
Vertical position is mapped to pitch – meaning that light towards the top of the image is higher pitched. The nebula is played on strings and synthetic tones, while stars are represented by digital harp. Brightness controls the volume, and the tilted hourglass orientation of the nebula produces an overall rising motion, with the prominent iron-rich jet producing a quick rise near the center.

Sonification credits: SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)

For more information about the Hubble Space Telescope and its images, visit


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. However, please credit individual items as indicated above.

Release date

This page was originally published on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:43 PM EDT.


This visualization is related to the following missions: