NASA Shares The Sound Of A Black Hole

Space is such a vast and unknown territory that we’ve just started to properly explore. But the sky has always held a special fascination for us, humans.

One of the mysteries in space is black holes. In recent years, we’ve begun to get understand them a little more – a few years ago we even got a minor glimpse inside.

But what does a black hole sound like?

Photo: flickr/Judy Schmidt

NASA has actually been able to record the sound of a black hole thanks to data collected from their Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and it’s pretty interesting!

Apparently, the sound has been associated with the black hole located at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster as far back as 2003. Astronomers first detected that the black hole could actually emit pressure waves, which caused a ripple effect in the cluster’s hot gas.

This meant that the motion would make a sound – one that has been interpreted into a sound that humans can actually hear. As it turns out, the human ear cannot hear about 57 octaves below middle C.

Photo: YouTube/
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

But with a little tweaking, it has been made into a sound we can actually hear. Using new signification, the notes picked up by the astronomical data were translated into sound. NASA’s Black Hole Week has just released it this year. Quite exciting!

There is a popular misunderstanding out there that there is no sound in space. This has originated because of the fact that most of space is pretty much a vacuum, meaning that there is no channel for sound waves to move through.

However, that isn’t always the case. For example, in a galaxy cluster, there is plenty of gas that surrounds the hundreds – even thousands – of galaxies residing within, meaning that there is a means for sound waves to travel.

Photo: YouTube/
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

The sonification of Perseus is the first time that these sound waves previously picked up by astronomers have been extracted and converted into audio. The sound waves were removed in radial directions – meaning outwards from the center. Then, those waves were resynthesized by scaling them upward by 57 and 58 octaves above their true pitch, making them detectible to the human ear.

In other words, we are actually hearing them at 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than how they would sound at their normal level! Mind-blowing, right?

Take a listen to the black hole below:

What do you think of the noise a black hole makes? Let us know!

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