ICAD2023 Special Track on Astronomical Data Sonification

Incredible images of astrophysical objects are used by professional astronomers for research and by the public for educational purposes. Challenging the idea that we should always use visualisations, there has been a growing interest over the past decade in converting astronomical phenomena into sound. The main drivers of these efforts are accessibility for blind or visually impaired people, outreach and inclusivity, and a deeper understanding of astronomical data.

The Audible Universe 2 workshop recently brought together 50 experts (cf. photo), including astronomers interested in sonification, sound designers, experts in sound perception, and educators, with the goals to consolidate the work that has been done already to sonify astronomical data and to start a multi-disciplinary discussion about how to properly design and evaluate sonification tools.
One main outcome of this workshop was that many concepts or tools have been developed either by enthusiastic astronomers with limited expertise in sound, or by enthusiastic sound designers with limited knowledge in astronomy, and above all that these approaches are not very well known and spread within the ICAD community.

Based on this, the goal of this Special Track is to provide a forum where astronomical data sonification projects – those presented at the Audible Universe 2 workshop as well as others – could be presented either as a work-in-progress potentially leading to discussions on development and technological issues (eg., the description of a sonification tool for astronomy and its current uses), or as an original study potentially leading to discussions on conceptual or methodological aspects (eg., the evaluation of a sonification tool, a new sonification technique, etc.).

The Astronomical Data Sonification Special Track is open to Extended Abstract and Full Paper contributions from both the astronomical and sonification communities, … and beyond!

Photo from the Audible Universe workshop, 12-16 December 2022 in Leiden, the Netherlands.