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Sonification of Planetary Orbits in Asteroid Belts

Quinton, Michael; Mcgregor, Iain; Benyon, David


Michael Quinton

David Benyon


This study investigates the design and evaluation of a sonification designed to detect any planets orbiting within an asteroid belt of an exosolar system. The interface was designed for an astronomer who studies this phenomenon. User centered design methods were applied to create an accurate sonification of the data that could allow the astronomer to perceive possible planetary movements within an asteroid belt. The sonification was developed over three stages: A requirements gathering exercise inquiring about the data that the astronomer uses in her work. A design and development stage based on the findings of the requirements gathering and the third stage, an evaluation of the sonification design. The sonification effectively allowed the astronomer to immediately detect a planet orbiting within an asteroid belt. Multiple parameter mappings provide richer auditory stimuli that are more semantical to the user. The use of more familiar, natural sounding sound design led to a clearer comprehension of the dataset. The use of spatial mapping and movement allowed for immediate identification and understanding of the planet's course through the asteroid belt.


Quinton, M., Mcgregor, I., & Benyon, D. (2021). Sonification of Planetary Orbits in Asteroid Belts. In AM '21: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Audio Mostly (72-80).

Conference Name Audio Mostly 2021
Conference Location Trento, Italy
Start Date Sep 1, 2021
End Date Sep 3, 2021
Acceptance Date Jul 27, 2021
Publication Date 2021-09
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 30, 2021
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery
Pages 72-80
Book Title AM '21: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Audio Mostly
Keywords Sonification; Parameter mapping sonification; Exoplanet hunting; Astronomy; User centered design; Grounded theory
Public URL


Sonification Of Planetary Orbits In Asteroid Belts (accepted version) (433 Kb)

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