Artistic rendering of a Black Hole. Depositphotos.

NASA Turns Astronomical Data Into Sound–This is What a Black Hole Sounds Like

Have you ever wanted to hear what a Black Hole sounds like? Well, here is your chance.


Although Black Holes do not allow anything to escape their mighty gravity pull, we can hear what a black hole sounds like by turning astronomical data into sound.

Even though humankind is still in its infancy when exploring outer space, our knowledge of the cosmos has greatly increased in the last ten years, mostly due to our rapid development of technologies and devices that allow us to look further into the universe than ever before.

In our quest to understand the universe, black holes are perhaps one of the most critical components.

These gigantic devourers are believed to be located in every galaxy’s center. There are roughly 100 billion supermassive black holes in our region of the Universe.

The nearest one is located 28 thousand lightyears away in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. The most distant Black Hole discovered to date resides billions of lightyears away in a quasar galaxy.

Black holes are very interesting for many reasons. We have absolutely no idea what is located inside a Black Hole. We have never photographed a black hole because its gravity is so powerful even light cannot escape, but we have, however, photographed matter around a black hole, in its accretion disk.

Researchers have debated whether Black Holes serve as wormholes allowing us to travel across vast distances to other galaxies or even perhaps universes. Some theories have even suggested that Black Holes could harbor entire universes.

This of course, is just conjecture.

Black holes can be classified into four types: stellar, intermediate, supermassive, and miniature.

Stellar death is the most common way black holes form. During their final moments, most stars will expand, lose mass, and then cool to become white dwarfs.

The heaviest of these fiery bodies, those bigger than 10 to 20 times our Sun, will end up becoming either stellar-mass black holes or superdense neutron stars. Despite the many unknowns about Black Holes, we know, for example, what a Black Hole sounds like.

Hearing the sound of a Black Hole

Sound has been linked to the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster since 2003. A black hole can produce sound due to pressure waves in the cluster’s hot gas.

This sound, which humans cannot hear 57 octaves below middle C, can nevertheless be interpreted by astronomers as a note. An updated sonification brings even more notes to this black hole sound machine.

NASA’s Black Hole Week is marking the release of a new sonification of the Black Hole, thanks to NASA scientists being able to turn astronomical data into sound.

As revealed by NASA, this new sonification revisits the actual sounds found from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory. It does not sound like any of the previous ones.

Most of space is essentially a vacuum, which provides no travel medium for sound waves. This is the source of the popular misconception that there is no sound in space. As opposed to this, a galaxy cluster contains an abundance of gas that surrounds hundreds or even thousands of galaxies, providing a medium for sound waves to travel.

In this new sonification of Perseus, the previously identified sound waves have been extracted and made audible for the first time. A radial extract was made, so the sound waves were extracted from the center outward.

Scientists then resynthesized the signals so that they would be audible to humans by scaling them upward by 57 and 58 octaves above their true pitch.

This means that the frequencies are being heard 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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