NASA recorded a black hole’s song, and you can listen to it

NASA recorded a black hole’s song, and you can listen to it

NASA scientists have been capturing sounds across the universe, from the screams of black holes to the gassy outbursts of distant stars.

If a black hole devours a planet and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Physicists and astronomers have been trying to map astronomical data through sound for decades—and now we can finally listen to a black hole scream into the void.

Earlier this month, NASA released the first recordings, or sonifications, of what two black holes sound like—and it’s just the kind of noise astronomers and science fiction buffs were expecting: eerie, ethereal, and aurally extraordinary.

In this new sonification of Perseus, the sound waves astronomers previously identified were extracted and made audible for the first time. The sound waves were extracted in radial directions, that is, outwards from the center. The signals were then resynthesized into the range of human hearing by scaling them upward by 57 and 58 octaves above their true pitch—or in other words, they are being heard 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency.

The universe is rife with the hum of celestial melodies—but it’s only relatively recently that humans have developed the technology to be able to hear them. A team of scientists at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory were able to extract and make audible previously identified sound waves from a nearly 20-year-old image of the Perseus galaxy cluster—a collection so full of galaxies, it’s assumed to be one of the most massive objects in the universe. It’s one of the closest clusters to Earth, around 240 light-years away.
“This sort of bespoke method is really about extrapolating something new out of this archival information,” says Kimberly Arcand, the visualization scientist for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory who led the research. Translating scientific data into acoustic signals has also become vastly easier in the past few years. For example, scientists can create parameters for all kinds of numerical data by assigning those values to higher or lower pitches, or vice versa, to turn them into musical notes.
These short sonifications typically take a few hours to create, but with the right data, can be completed using sound engineering software and other publicly available computer programs, like Python.

he team’s finished result reveals a deep magnetic groaning created by a “supermassive black hole causing [a] rippling in its surrounding environments.” The radar band sweeping over the image in the video above allows the listener to take in what the ripples sound like from different directions. But Perseus’ original notes are pitched so low (about 57 octaves below middle C) that they exist outside the range of the human ear. This meant that the researchers had to resynthesize its signals by scaling them upward from their true pitch. Arcand’s team also used this technique to turn the recent Event Horizon Telescope image of Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole that lies at the center of our own Milky Way, into sound as well.

“There are a number of areas in astrophysical research specifically where there’s really big data, or really noisy data,” Arcand says. “Having a human sense of hearing can be an excellent way of picking that good data out.”
But besides listening to the ghostly ringing of black holes, turning data into sound can also assist astronomers in exploring the universe outside our cosmic neighborhood, particularly in humanity’s rush to discover new exoplanets.

#Blackholes #Nasa #Sounds #Youtube #Video

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