Haunting audio from a black hole allows humans to hear sounds from space 240 million light-years away

Is there sound in space? New audio released by NASA provides some insight – and the answer is haunting.

The audio, released on May 4, is of a black hole from the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster, a massive space structure 11 million light-years in diameter and about 240 million years away. -Earth light. Astronomers created the audible sound by recording the pressure waves the black hole sent through the cluster’s hot gas. In their original form, these waves cannot be heard by the human ear, so scientists extracted the sound waves and enlarged them by 57 and 58 octaves.

“In some ways, this sonification is unlike any before,” NASA said in a statement. “…[The sound waves] are heard 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency.”

When they collide with human frequencies, the sounds of the black hole are almost akin to the moans of a haunting ghost or the deep ocean calls of a pod of whales.

Although this particular sound from space is new, NASA has associated the Perseus galaxy cluster with sound since 2003. Galaxy clusters like Perseus are the largest gravitational objects in the universe containing hundreds of galaxies, d huge clouds of hot gas that reach over 180 million degrees Fahrenheit and the ever-mysterious dark matter. All of this material creates a medium for the sound waves to travel through.

Along with the Perseus sound broadcast, NASA scientists also released a sonification of another famous black hole located at Messier 87, or M87.


Data sonification: black hole in the center of the Galaxy M87 (multiple wavelength) by
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center on Youtube

Unlike Perseus’ black hole, this one has a much higher pitch and can be described as ambient music with faint chimes. The sound visualization that NASA has released is equally spectacular, as it contains scans of the black hole taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, optical light from the Hubble Space Telescope and radio waves from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array at the Chile. It also contains an image of the location of the black hole and an image of a jet produced by M87.

The audio files and visualizations were released during NASA Black Hole Week May 2-6. Meanwhile, NASA released various black hole visualizations and information as part of a “celebration of celestial objects with gravity so intense that not even light can escape them.” .”

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