Image: Aman Pal/Unsplash/Reproduction
Much is said about the absence of sound in space. Indeed, most of this environment is vacuum, which does not allow the propagation of sound waves. On the other hand, galaxy clusters have large amounts of gas that surround the hundreds or even thousands of galaxies within them, providing a medium for sound waves to travel through.
Now, NASA scientists have made the sound of sound waves identified in the black hole of the Perseus cluster of galaxies audible. Listen below:
Getting to the audio was no easy task. First, the scientists had to revisit astronomical data obtained by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Then they realized that the pressure waves sent by the black hole caused ripples in the cluster’s hot gas that could be translated into a note—inaudible, by the way, to humans.
The solution: synthesize sound within the range of human hearing. For this, the scientists had to place the note at 57 and 58 octaves above the true pitch. Basically, it’s like the sound is 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than its original frequency.
As if the sound of the black hole released by NASA wasn’t enough, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the USA, also released this week the audio of a black hole swallowing a star. Listen below:
To arrive at the audio, the scientists used echoes of X-ray light, which are emitted when the black hole pulls gas and dust from the “prey” it is about to engulf. The full study was published in the scientific journal Astrophysical Journal.