Ever wondered what songs on radio broadcasts you would hear if you moved light-years away from the Earth into space? Lightyear.fm website can help answer the question to a certain degree. It shows what music you’d hear, depending on the distance in light-years you were away from the Earth. Once you enter the website — and it takes a while to load up and play music — you’ll find yourself in the middle of a fascinating space view.
That’s just the beginning of an enthralling experience that you, as a viewer and listener, will have. Once the site loads, you don’t even have to do much unless you want to specifically find the track you would hear for a specific distance away from Earth.
In the bottom centre of the screen, you get a timeline of sorts showing the distance between you and the Earth and the song you get to hear. For instance, when you are in Earth’s orbit, you hear “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. And then depending on the light-minutes, light-hours and light-years you move away from Earth, the music changes.
A note on the homepage of the website reads, “Radio broadcasts leave Earth at the speed of light. Scroll away from Earth and hear how far the biggest hits of the past have travelled. The farther away you get, the longer the waves take to travel there — and the older the music you’ll hear.”
Hence the website’s mathematics is simple — 30 light-years away from the Earth means something from 30 years ago will play. How do you do that? Well, there’s another bar, a timeline showing light-years you can click on and listen to music from. And it’s not just the music but also the interactive nature of the platform that contributes to making it a fascinating platform.
The website, however, does mention that though the platform has radio waves reaching over 100 light-years into space, due to the Inverse Square Law of Propagation, any terrestrial radio broadcast would become nothing but background noise just a few light-years away from Earth. “So, take comfort in knowing that all those awesome constellations up there will never hear Rebecca Black,” it said.
Created by Mike Lacher, Brian Moore, Chris Baker, Mika Chernov, Lightyear.fm’s team won the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards in 2015. According to a report by Wired, Lacher built the audio system for the site, Moore designed the site interface, and Baker ensured the tunes were legitimate.