Many of Saturn’s moons launch spiral density waves within the rings at the locations of resonances. These are the places where the motions of particles that make up the rings harmonize with the motion of a moon, with both of them executing different numbers of complete orbits in the same time. For example, particles at a 2:1 resonance complete 2 orbits for every 1 orbit of a certain moon. We converted the waves of all the ‘1st order’ resonances of the sister moons Janus and Epimetheus into sound. These moons share an orbit but swap places every four years and this dance can be clearly seen and heard here. Density waves caused by resonances with other moons as well as wakes caused by Saturn’s ‘ravioli’ moon Pan which orbits within the rings are also present.
We converted the highest resolution color image of Saturn’s rings into music. The brightness of each pixel is used to control the harp notes and drum sounds as well as their intensity. The notes correspond to the first 13 notes of the harmonic series. The image was taken on July 6, 2017 and shows a section within Saturn’s dense B ring in natural color. Click here for the full version which sonifies the entire image and here to play the rings for yourself!