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About the Internship Program

MAST hosts a summer internship program for high school artists. Each student makes a piece inspired by data hosted at MAST. The art can be in the medium of their choice: painting, sculpture, music, performance, animation, augmented reality, fashion design... whatever the student is interested in. Some summers we have themes (for example: sonification), other summers it is more open-ended, as long as the work is inspired by MAST data.

Astro Art: Summer 2023

We hired a cohort of 12 interns from the Baltimore region to create art inspired by or representative of MAST science data. Artwork could be created independently or in collaboration with other interns. The program was 6-weeks: July 10th - August 18th
, and the interns worked 10-15 hours a week. We met in person at Space Telescope Science Institute once a week for 2.5 hours
. Alongside time creating artworks, the students met MAST scientists, wrote a weekly progress journal, participated in educational talks, and visited James Webb mission control.

Sculpted astronaut in classic white space suit, suspended to appear floating against a dark purple star-flecked background

Celine Blanchette

Polymer clay/acrylic paint


It goes without saying that space is very, very big. There’s a point when trying to roll around the numbers and measurements in your head just returns an error message and a headache. And all of that space is filled with… well, nothing much, really. All the galaxies in the universe seem to be arranged into filaments situated on the edges of absolutely massive bubbles of vacuum. When faced with something so utterly incomprehensible, it’s hard to decide what is more terrifying: the voids of nothing or the unknown something that may or may not be there. My work, inspired by the Illustris Project’s simulations of the cosmic web, seeks to remind us all that we are all floating around in an abyss containing a structure that looks ominously like a spider’s web. While there may not be an actual galaxy-crushing spider lurking in our real cosmic web, there are still enough unknowns about our universe to make space unnerving. Be careful not to breathe too hard on this sculpture, or you might just dislodge a subatomic particle harboring 8 billion sapient lifeforms.

Inspiration: Illustris Simulation 

A cube, which is open on two sides (one opening facing us, the other facing above), sits on a table. The inside walls are painted with stars and between them stretch long, web-like filaments that carry the same starry pattern. In the upper left of the box, a cosmically colored spider straddles these threads while four astronauts float near various portions of the "web". The astronauts in the foreground are clutching each other's elbows, with helmets resting together; the astronauts are colinear such that a line would pass through the first's feet, then their touching helmets, then exit at the second's feet.

A close-up of the box. The pattern of stars on the walls and filaments is clearer in this closeup,.

A closeup of the astronaut in the top left, who appears to be drifting dangerously close to the cosmic spider.A slightly different angle of the astronaut who sits near the spider. In the background, an upside-down astronaut flails their arms. The entwined duo floats near the bottom of the web.

An extreme closeup of the astronaut near the spider. An American flag, a red triangle, and a blue circle are visible on the chest pack of their space suit.

The cosmic web box sitting on a table. From this angle, two exterior faces and the open top of the box are visible. The pattern on the outside is slightly different; the outside shows clusters of stars, while the inside adds additional brush strokes to connect these into filaments.

Title screen from the animation: An illustration of James Webb Telescope with hovering lines around the edges representing data entering the telescope

Lilah Cohen


World Wide Webb

Watch Animation

A simplified visualization of the process the Near Infrared Camera sensor (NIRCAM) on the Webb telescope undergoes when a light photon is sensed. The different stages of the animation are as followed; the light is turned into electricity, then it is converted to radio signal, the signal is sent to earth, after that the radio waves are translated into numeric code, this code is then distributed to scientists in the form of a FITS file, and finally the scientist has to interpret the data to produce images. Enjoy the trip!

Relief sculpture of a spiral galaxy on a black background. The central disc and arms of the galaxy are painted in broad, almost abstract strokes in bright colors. Shards of clear glass extend from the background, showing the colors behind it and giving the piece dimensionality.

Emma Haines

Plaster, Wood, Glass, Paint, Hot Glue

Spiral Eye

This artwork is a sculpture made of plaster, recycled glass and wood that was based on CubeViz data. The primary purpose of this artwork was to communicate Data in a visual and interesting way. To do this I selected a not-so understood visualisation tool- CubeViz. This program allows the viewer to see data, especially spectra to be analyzed more thoroughly. My art shows this by representing spectral data in a 3D way. The way I interpreted the data is that the higher the wavelength the more prominent it is whenever you examine it in CubeViz- therefore it would be the centerpiece and the highest point in the art work. In this art piece it was the circle in the middle. The glass used in the artwork represents the versatility of data analyzation with the tool and also adds visual texture to the piece. Furthermore the color pallete, although primarily faithful to the original image, was altered to a more purple centered palette in order to honor the infrared vision of James Webb.

To create the artwork I started by collecting glass bottles and peeling the labels off of them. I used paint thinner to take off the sticky residue of the labels. The bottles were broken afterwards and sorted into usable pieces which were primarily glass pieces that were large and in interesting shapes. The next step was creating a base that could hold the weight of glass and plaster so I decided to go with a solid plywood base reinforced with a wooden frame on the back. With a marker I traced a topographical map on the wooden board which I used to guide the subsequent sculpture with styrofoam. After the styrofoam was in the right place I secured it in place and went over it with plaster sheets and wetted it to create the basis of the sculpture. I mixed glass pieces with plaster to create a medium which I used to create the rest of the sculpture as well as using the rest of the glass on top to give the sculpture more texture. Once dried color was added through paint and buffing powder.

Glass galaxy relief sculpture from slightly above, sitting on a wooden table with a label "Please DO NOT TOUCH".Glass galaxy relief sculpture from directly above. Refractions of light through the curved, broken glass bring the colors of the painted background galaxy out to shine through different places than they would in a flat painting.Close up of the glass layers of the sculpture. From here, printed text from some bottles is visible, as are the color differences in green and blue shards among the predominantly clear ones, and the yellows and reds from the galaxy center reflect throughout.Close-up of the galaxy center and one arm, with curved glass shards thicker in the center and less so in the arms, as is the shape of these objects in space.Close up of galaxy center from another angle, with more green and clear glass bottle shards in thicker portions of the galaxyClose up of the galaxy sculpture center. The thickness of each glass piece and sharpness of its edges becomes visibleGalaxy center photographed from inches away. Text and bar code printed on one piece of clear glass are legible. Blue and green reflections from other parts of the image shine through the edges of the glass shards.

Still image from an animation, white digital brushstrokes made up of many dots abstractly suggest a central light source and spirals around it, on a black background.

Ezekiel Hickman

Electric instruments, Light Curve Sonifications, Hand-drawn Animation, Digital Animation

Light Curve Orchestra

Watch Animation

“Light Curve Orchestra” is an animation and song centered around light curves, and their visual conceptualization. Light curves are essentially just waveforms that are records of light put off by a celestial body over time. There’s no visual representation of light curves beyond their waveforms, so in this piece I set out with the goal in mind of creating some visual interpretation of this record-keeping of light paired with sonifications of these light curve waveforms. Combining my personal fascinations and existential dreads of space’s gargantuan emptiness with inspiration from deep-space images, the music came to represent the sweeping, massive expanse of the universe and the visuals communicated the busyness and beauty there is to find within it, along with showing how the volume of light correlates with the audio. The song itself is written around a core sonified light curve from a binary star system, accompanied by myself on a handful of instruments.

A screenshot from Hasan's website about spectroscopy

Hasan Maharoof

Web Design

Spectroscopy — Behind the Images


My vision for this project is to create a website that bridges the gap between the complex yet important topic of spectroscopy to the public, through a visual-based artistic website. My website aims to beautify spectroscopy as an art form. I first explain spectroscopy and why it is important, including interactive spectroscopy-related visuals. Embedded into user-friendly interfaces are normally complex scientific tools used for spectroscopy. I hope that this allows more people to learn and become interested in this interesting yet often ignored aspect of astronomy.

Creating my site involved basic HTML and CSS code, for structuring and styling, respectively. Online resources were used to research as well as grab visuals for my site, which have been credited as necessary. Photoshop and other tools were used to edit and create visuals. I was assisted by scientists at STScI to embed “jdaviz” tools into the site, including developers Kyle Conroy and Brian Cherinka.

A still image from inside of AR dome

Aylin Metzel

Augmented reality model

The Dome

Download AR Experience | Watch Video of AR Walkthrough

The artist holds up a phone and a star field is projected on the screen behind her

My work is inspired by Stephan’s Quintet and draws from the description and image of the quintet found on the James Webb Telescope website. My goal was to imitate the experience of a planetarium in augmented reality (AR). I chose to focus solely on Stephan’s Quintet because it has distinct and easy to isolate elements that work well with the medium I chose. I love working in AR because of how portable and transient it is. You can take it with you and experience it anywhere. It doesn’t require physical materials despite how tangible and immersive it can feel. See the instructions for details on how to access the model, and please enjoy interacting with this AR experience.


With the iPad: Pick up the iPad and use the camera to scan the QR Code. Click on the pop up for Adobe Aero, and point the camera at the ground. Once it says “surface found” tap the screen and turn up your volume before entering the dome!

With your phone: Download Adobe Aero from the app store, then follow the instructions for the iPad.

QR Code to download the AR experience


Welcome to Stephan’s Quintet, seen here as captured by the James Webb Telescope.

Composed of more than 150 million pixels, this image composites data from the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) found on the telescope.

Data from the MIRI captures shock waves in shades of gold and orange. 

The NIRCam highlights stars in cool shades of blue and white.

Despite its name, some galaxies in the quintet are closer than others. Look up to see NGC 7320, which is 250 million light years closer to earth than the other galaxies.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of Stephan’s Quintet. 
Learn more at

A painting of andromeda in is overlaid with three footprints. The left, representing the ultraviolet, has wispy white stands while the center of the galaxy glows purple. The central overlay, representing infrared, and has long, hazy, red streaks where the spiral arms of the galaxy would be. The right overlay, representing radio emisisons, contains only a few blobs of red, yellow, and green, on a mostly faint blue background.

Maya Nedkova

Acrylic paint on canvas

For many, the most interactive view of space is the glitzy, glamorous, and easily-digestible colorized images NASA publishes, the so-called "poster children" of space. For my internship here at STSci, I hoped to delve into a more scientific and astronomical perspective of space. As an artist, I hope to celebrate and uplift how scientists view space while using aesthetics and color to connect it to a general audience. My medium is acrylic and oil paint on canvas. 

Footprints of M105

"Footprints of M105," is inspired by the format of the MAST archive. In the MAST archive, you can view data from multiple missions of the same object. Each rectangular "footprint" represents an image of M105 or a surrounding area, creating an abstract, geometric view.

Many dozens of white rectangles overlap on an image of the sky. At the center is a yellow, gently glowing sphere.

Wavelengths of NGC 5194

"Wavelengths of NGC 5194," explores how taking images in UV, visible light, and infrared warps the view of the same object.

The canvas is subdivided into three images. They are all of the same galaxy but with different colors and features. The left image uses pinks and purples, and many distinct, fully resolved sources are visible. The central version has dark, black, and red arms of the spiral galaxy that emanate a cyan glow. The right image is dominated by reds and oranges, and the spiral itself is suffused with a hazy glow.

Filters of NGC 3132

"Filters of NGC 3132," are supposed to be viewed together. They depict the same galaxy but show how different filters of James Webb alter an image.The southern ring nebula. A bright white star at center is surrounded by a bright cyan glow. A reddish ring surrounds the inner halo. The nebula itself is on a black background with white stars.The same nebula as before, but now in black and white. The background is white, and the stars are painted in black.


"Andromeda," combines the ideas within my first and second pieces. It features footnotes, and each footnote represents a different wavelength of that data of Andromeda.

A painting of andromeda in is overlaid with three footprints. The left, representing the ultraviolet, has wispy white stands while the center of the galaxy glows purple. The central overlay, representing infrared, and has long, hazy, red streaks where the spiral arms of the galaxy would be. The right overlay, representing radio emisisons, contains only a few blobs of red, yellow, and green, on a mostly faint blue background.

A student explains something to a young girl and a man. The young girl is seated at a computer which has a music player open.

Maze Pelham

Electronic Music

Messier I

Listen to Song

My piece is an EDM (electronic dance music) song inspired by Messier 1, more commonly known as the Crab Nebula. 
My goal was to create a sonic experience where it feels like the listener is directly experiencing the beauty of the Crab Nebula, by directly using data from the nebula in my song. At first, I tried to find sonifications from Crab Nebula light curves, but there were none, because there's so much dust around it that it makes for noisy and uninteresting data to turn into sound. After spending time deliberating on how to circumvent this issue, I got an idea. While I didn't expect to do this for a song, I made a python script using the Astronify package in order to turn telescope images of the Crab Nebula into sound. I then used techniques like granular synthesis, vocoding, and resampling to transform those sonifications into something harmonic, and musically enjoyable. 
I also wanted to make more general musical choices that reflect the nature and life of the Crab Nebula as well. For example, the beginning features a sound I synthesized that pulsates at a rate of around 30 times per second, because there is a pulsar at the center of the Crab Nebula, that "pulses" at around that rate. I also wanted to reflect the fact that this pulsar will slow down as it cools down and the gas around it saps its energy by slowing down the tempo over time. 

A close up shot of orange, pink and blue paint of different textures

Cid Vasquez-Castillo

Acrylic paint on acrylic sheets and canvas

A Bubble and It’s Layers

This art piece was based on the Bubble Nebula. The Bubble Nebula caught my attention because of the fact that it is a bubble in space and I felt like that would also catch people’s attention because I believe not many people know that there is a bubble in space somewhere. I was inspired by glass paintings made popular back in the pandemic in 2021. I was looking at a picture of the Bubble Nebula and I noticed all the layers this image potentially had and I realized how good this would look on layers of glass. I did further research and found out that the Bubble Nebula is made of 3 major components, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen, all portrayed beautifully by the Hubble Telescope. The Hubble Telescope can portray these 3 elements with the colors green, red, and blue. Because of the Hubble’s ability to show visible light, it made the image much more colorful and beautiful so I decided to mainly portray the 3 elements with the primary colors, red for nitrogen, blue for oxygen, and yellow for hydrogen, on my glass painting since they are the most prominent in the original image. As for the process of making the paintings, I used regular craft paint and acrylic sheets since acrylic sheets offer more sturdiness so it won’t shatter as easily, I hope. Anyways, for this painting I had to work backwards in order to make the painting coordinate with itself. I first worked on the background and worked my way up. Part of the thought process with the way I placed my paint was thinking about where each element would be places. I figured the nitrogen build up would be more towards the background and the hydrogen more towards the forefront of the art piece. Lastly, I figured to add an additional layer to the painting, it being a more minimal layer with only the 3 primary colors, because I thought that I had gotten too carried away with making the art piece itself resemble the original photo I thought that I needed an extra layer to inform the viewer of what it’s originally supposed to represent.

A painting of the bubble nebula on multiple layers of reflective acrylic panel.

A different angle of the painting on acrylic panels. the edge shows the multiple panelsA close up of the edge of the layers of panels the painting is on

Touchy Bubble

This art piece was created to have texture to give visually impaired people an art piece they can physically enjoy as well. I was inspired to make this piece by the many other art pieces I’ve seen on social media that include texture as well. Where it be by scraps of paper or adding sugar to their paints to give texture, I was inspired by all. I had a tub of 100% acrylic paint and I used that to sculpt my piece into having layers and texture. I decided to give the general space in my piece a smooth texture because I was not sure what exact element it could be made of so I decided to keep it smooth. For nitrogen, I decided to give it a rigid feel to it but still try to keep it smooth still since it is less heated compared to the other two elements. I placed this on the majority of the right edges and a bit on the left bottom corner edge of the piece. For hydrogen I decided to go for a wavy feel to it since it’s a bit higher on the temperature scale of elements and I thought some waves could mean more of a spike of texture. Hydrogen is placed towards the upper left corner of the piece and can be also felt (hopefully) towards the upper middle of the ring of oxygen. Oxygen is represented with the roughest texture I could create; it is like touching the backside of a new sponge where one side is soft and the other is rough. I created this texture using a spongy applicator I had lying around. This was chosen for Oxygen due to it being the hottest element in the Bubble Nebula. Oxygen can be found towards the middle bottom edge and can be found after hydrogen going towards the right. The more elevated part of the piece is the ring itself made of oxygen. I decided that because there is so much happening outside of the Bubble Nebula, there should be elevation for the surface of the Bubble Nebula to make it more distinct from the rest. Lastly, I decided to add little individual spikes on the canvas to represent stars that are placed sporadically in and around the Bubble Nebula.

a blue and pink and orange textured acrylic painting of a bubbleA lagend with braille signage that can be used to read the textured painting, each color and texture represents a different element: Oxygen, Hydrogen, or NitrogenA close up shot of orange, pink and blue paint of different texturesA close up shot of the texture of the blue paint

A close up of glowing colored triangles that make up the lamp

Jasper Ward

Bamboo, Paper, Hot glue

The Nowhere Nebula

The Nowhere Nebula is a sculpture that incorporates aspects and takes inspiration from the Cosmic Reef, Crab Nebula, Cephid Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, Monkey’s Head Nebula, and the Tarantula Nebula. The sculpture is made up of triangular panels that are glued together to make a hollow form. I made the panels one at a time and decided their dimensions based on how I wanted each panel to fit with the ones next to it and how I wanted to angle it so that I could manipulate the overall shape of the sculpture. The majority of creating this sculpture felt like solving a puzzle at the same time I was making it. Each piece is built to fit in with what is already there and to make space for what comes after it. This sometimes meant making an individual panel over again until I liked how it fit, or even removing a panel entirely if it ended up being in my way. The inspiration behind this piece was my desire to find a way to represent the relation of data and art in astronomy. Specifically referencing the way every artistic rendering of space is made up of data, just like how my sculpture is a nebula made up of angles and geometry. 

A lamp glows with different colored triangels form to make a geometric shape

A lamp glows with different colored triangles form to make a geometric shapeA close up of glowing colored triangles that make up the lamp

An oil painting of the cosmic cliffs image with shards of 3-dimensional areas layered on top

Olivia Webster

Oil paint on MDF board

A Peek into the Cosmic Cliffs

When viewing the pristine photos of faraway galaxies published by STScI from telescopes such as James Webb, these images seem almost effortless, like a simple snap of camera shutters. Viewing data found on MAST, however, it quickly becomes obvious that this is not the case. Instead, such images are made mostly of raw, infrared ‘exposures’ of different segments of an astral object, made up of wavelengths we simply cannot see, to piece together one full image. I decided to portray this process in my work. Through the use of 3-dimensional “shards,” I depict the different filters that make up the Carina Nebula, or the “Cosmic Cliffs” – only recently imaged by JWST with use of its infrared and near-infrared technologies, allowing it to peer through the cosmic dust which had previously obscured this portion of the nebula. Each shard represents a filter – or overlay of filters – that make up part of what goes into the main, polished image, depicted in the center of the canvas board.

An oil painting of the cosmic cliffs image with shards of 3-dimensional areas layered on topA close up of the left shard, light purple fades to dark with a starfield and clouds of spacedustA close up of the right shard, royal blue fades to purple, orange, and red with a starfield and clouds of spacedustClose up of bottom shards with blue, red and purple color fields, clouds  of dust and stars

A close-up of the yarn sculpture, a diamond of yellow in the center with orange around the edge

Lily Zhu

Wood, yarn, & fabric sculpture

Southern Ring Nebula

This Project is inspired by an image of NGC 3132 taken on 2022-06-03 16:01:34.362999 by JWST. The color choices are inspired by its Red-Blue color mapped image. I substituted orange & yellow for the red hues due to material constraint. Nevertheless, the subtle changes in the shades of yellow and orange shows the movement of dust being blown from the center dying star, represented by the dark blue center, accentuated by its pale surrounding, sharded in the eyes of JWST, and translated into the multi planed structure of this piece.

The 4 single curved wires are representative of flux data of KIC 8462852. Previously, I had attempted to bend wires into the shape of the light curve but found it unsuccessful. As a result, I took the repetition within the data into account along with the natural pattern of the wire itself, to create the final form of “light curves” in this piece. The 12 straight wires ,on the other hand, were representative of the noise surrounding the nebula. In contrast, the straight wires functioned to accentuate the “light curves”.

Although I was inspired to create this shape from previous craft experiences, I have since learned this method holds traditional and cultural significance within Latin American culture. Known as Ojo de Dios, or God’s eye, it is used as a ritual tool for worshippers to communicate with, and receive protection from God. Since the spread of the craft in the U.S, it has lost much of its original meaning, and in cases, has been considered a distinctive Christian craft. In modern day the craft still holds significance within groups such as the Huichol, indigenous people of Mexico and U.S, and Puebloans, Native Americans located in Southwestern U.S. In respect to the history of this craft, I hope this piece also serves as a reminder to honor the history of Ojo de Dios.


A yarn sculpture: Two wooden pieces form a cross and yellow and orange yarn is wrapped along back and forth forming a 3-dimensional diamond

another angle of the yan sculpture

another angle of the sculptureA close up of one of the wooden feet of the sculptue, yarn is wrapped to the edge and 3 thin metal strands run along the length of the sculptureA close up shot of the center of the yarn sculpture

A super close up shot of the yellow diamond in the middle of the sculpture, some white and blue yard strands run alongside the yellow strands.


We view a group group of paintings of astronomical objects in space from behind a few people's heads who are looking at the pieces.
A silohetted student describes his animation to a group of onlookers, the animation is playing on a large television screen.
A student smiles at his website up on a large television screen as a group of engaged onlookers watches him present his work.
A group of smiling people stand behind a large orange and yellow sculpture made from wrapped yarn. The sculpture is an cube-diamond type shape.
A student motions with her hand as she describes her sculpture to a group of onlookers. The sculpture sits on a table and is made from broken glass pieces formed into the shape of a spiral galaxy.
A group of onlookers clap for a student as he finishes explaining the geometric lamp he made which glows with many colors.
We view from behind a crowd of onlookers as a student motions towards her sculpture as she describes the piece. The sculpture is inside a box and includes a space web with astronauts caught, and a giant spider.
A student kneels looking at a smartphone, what is on her screen is displayed on the television behind her. A group of people watch, and one takes a video with her phone.
A student arches backward while looking at her phone, an image of what she is seeing-a star field- shows on the television behind her
A student motions to his computer while explaining his project to 2 onlookers
A student smiles while motioning his hands as he describes his project (a musical piece) which is playing from a computer.
A student wearing a dress with the sun printed on it motions towards a large television screen playing her animation of the James Webb Space Telescope.
A student points towards a piece that shows the bubble nebula; the piece is layered plexiglass that has been painted and stacked to give it a textured look. To the left is a more traditional "oil on canvas" version of the piece
A student, caught mid-explanation, shows off a painted bubble nebula; the piece is layered plexiglass that has been painted and stacked to give it a textured look.
Many people are gathered around a table, on which sits a multi-colored yarn sculpture. The sculpture takes the shape of two intersecting geometric planes; they are cross sections of the bubble nebula, with both red and blue threads that correspond to colors in the JWST image.
Four art exhibits are lined up, with several visitors looking curiously at each. In the foreground, a woman reads a sign next to a piece made of shards of glass. In the background, we see a woman stooped low to examine a glowing sculpture more closely.
Three people examine a painting mounted to the while, while in the background a man looks inquistively at a screen displaying a waveform.
Throngs of people gather around three art exhibits. In the foreground, a woman in a pink shirt looks at a yarn sculpture. In the background, two crowds are watching TVs; one is a webpage and the other is an animation, with the current frame showing a lonely white star on the background of space.
Two people examine a painting of a nebula with sign above it that says "PLEASE DO TOUCH". There are three paint swatches nearby that explain that each color (with corresponding texture) represent a different element present in the nebula.
Approximately two dozen people gather around a menagerie of pieces. A centrally located table contains JWST release image posters.
Two spectators look excitedly at a glowing sculpture. The sculpture is composed of dozens of smooth-textured triangles, each a different color. The overall shape evokes a nebula, peacefully radiating into the void.
Three tables are lined up with crowds of people around each; the first has a mysterious black box, the second a glowing statue, and the third a sculpture made with broken glass.
A student explains something to a young girl and a man. The young girl is seated at a computer which has a music player open.
Two people stare fixedly at a TV screen displaying a webpage. The page contains a spectrum with nearby text. In the background, we see a frame of an animation that resembles a diffraction pattern.
View from inside a group of people watching two art pieces being shown on large televisions. A student artist stands between them ready to take questions.
Two student projects are shown on large televisions: one is a website showing spectral data, the other an animation title screen reading "LIGHT CURVE ORCHESTRA".  A student artist stands between them, ready to take questions.
Several people lean over a table displaying a mostly flat sculptural work with shards of glass emerging from a black background, looking at it from various angles. A woman points out a detail in the piece. Other groups and projects are visible in the background.
Photograph of several people reading the description of an art piece. Behind them is a row of tables and wall of windows on a forest. In front of them, several posters of space imagery sit on a table.
Photograph of a group watching an animation of JWST against a field of galaxies on a small laptop screen and mirrored on a large wall-mounted television. The artist stands to the left, discussing the project.
Over the shoulder view of a group of people: one holds up a smartphone viewer for one of the interactive art pieces. A second figure watches from behind them. The artist is also shown, her head turned to watch their reactions.
Close up photograph, a person reaches out  with their finger to touch a small sculpted astronaut in a piece called “Stranded”. A label “Please DO TOUCH (GENTLY)” is legible in the foreground.
A woman grins and leans in to point out details in a sculptural piece, labeled “Stranded”. The artist stands behind it, also smiling. Prints of Hubble and JWST images are visible on the wall in the background.
A black box sculptural piece sits on a table labeled “Please DO TOUCH (GENTLY)”. Two viewers are smiling, leaning in to look at the piece and speak with the artist, who is shown with her back to the camera.
A sculpture with geometric forms lit from inside sits on a table labeled “Please DO NOT TOUCH”. Several people facing the camera are observing the piece and talking to the student artist, whose back is to the camera.
wide angle photograph of the cafe gallery. To the left, seated people are watching a project displayed on an overhead screen. To the right a smiling group of students are discussing their projects.
Photograph capturing the whole show room with several groups of viewers and students discussing their projects

On August 10th, 2023 we hosted the Astro Art show at Space Telescope Science Institute HQ. This gallery show event featured the art created by the 12 summer 2023 interns: music, animations, paintings, sculpture, and even augmented reality experience. The show was well attended and the art was especially appreciated by the astronomers who enjoyed experiencing the data they work with daily from in a new way.

Hearing the Light: Summer 2021

We hired students to create art inspired by space sonification that can be enjoyed by a blind audience. We all met by video chat for 6 weeks during the summer of 2021. The student artists were both blind and sighted themselves—so we had a lot of interesting discussions about acessibility and art.

The students created: 2 musical pieces, an animation with spoken word poetry, and a 3-dimensional painting.

Sound waves from RR Lyra Sonification

Emril Bennett


The Lyra Diaries

Listen to song

Electronic music composed using space sonifications.

I have been thinking about making art all day, and haven’t taken action on it. Maybe a creative thought will slip through the exhaustion-induced chaos. I zombie walk to my desk. I pick up the iPhone then proceed to open Garageband. It certainly isn’t one of the better editors out there, but it’s accessibility is decent. I also happen to be very familiar with it, as I have played with it a lot in the past. I open up a new project file and begin aimlessly scrolling through the eleven selection categories. I stumble upon the sampler which, surprisingly, I have not found use for. This is mainly due to the fact that it makes a speed modification in edition to the pitch change, which I did not want or expect on my first use. Since I was letting ideas loose, and was not familiar with this interface in particular, I decided I would explore it. This art program is about problem solving and open mindedness. I click the button and begin exploring. From experience, I know my keyboard starts near the middle and extends to the bottom of the screen, when holding the phone in the proper orientation. I proceed to find the keyboard and start fiddling with it, making discoveries along the way. Once I got familiar with finding the sample controls, which hide in confusing (and sometimes inaccessible) menus, I record a test sample. Once I record a suitable test sample, I begin editing it and seeing what happens along the way. Though the experience is slow and laggy, it was also somewhat natural. I get carried away playing with this, using the different controls and tapping and sliding through the admittedly small keyboard screen. I became inspired to learn more about it, as the variations of interaction and response are so few and yet so many. This is especially true of samples which have pitch change recorded into them, such as those taken from certain types of sonified data files. This truly intrigues me and I can not wait to see what comes out of it! There is much work to be done…

A black and white painting of 2 stars. a spiral representing their movement is painted in the same color as their background, but is 3 dimensional

Caitlin Caughlan


Untitled Painting

Painting inspired by a sonification of binary stars.A black and white painting of 2 stars. a spiral representing their movement is painted in the same color as their background, but is 3 dimensional

Flare lightcurve plot

Ashley Neall


Song of a Flare Sonification

Listen to song

The inspiration for this musical piece is derived from listening to various sonifications and incorporating such auditory data into the piece, while also expressing the emotions I feel when I listen to the sonifications through this piece. While listening to the sonifications before beginning the production process, I would condition myself to think about nothing else except for this auditory data. As I deciphered how the sonifications made me feel and what musical elements could describe this, I began to spontaneously play notes on my electric piano - hoping to find a melody that would successfully convey this emotion, while also blending with the chosen sonification itself.

I picked one specific sonification that is considered a flare. To discover how I would create music from this auditory data, I began listening to this specific sonification and re-creating this sequence of notes on my piano by ear. From this exploration on my piano, I created a melody and used different virtual instruments with this same melody that have timbres that “feel” like something extraterrestrial. After adding some voices and synths to this melody, I decided to use a file converter to turn the audio file of the original flare sonification into a MIDI file so that I could further explore the elements of this sonification and manipulate its tempo, pitch, and timbre. From this MIDI version of the flare sonification, I gathered more inspiration as I had greater freedom to incorporate this flare into the melody I now had as a starting point. Continuing to transport, alter, and add tracks, I progressed slowly but ultimately finished with a piece that I believe merges the elements of - and feelings I perceive from - my melody with the flare sonification.

I’d rather not explain what emotion I believe this work evokes. Instead, I encourage the audience to decipher their own perceptions of this piece by immersing themselves in the music as they think critically and creatively. Leaving the meaning of this musical piece implicit allows the music to have an infinitely sensational impact.

A black and firey background with the words "We are a big ball rolling around in space"

Moonasia Williams

Animated Poem

A World Beyond Us

Watch Animation

A World Beyond Us is a word art and digital imagery design in graphics and shadow colors. In A Word Beyond Us it has beautifully done sound, and sound from other outside sources. A World Beyond Us was a developed idea that changed over time due to time constraints. The piece turned out pretty well but definitely could have some improvements in the future.