NASA captures the sound of a black hole: this is how the enigmatic Perseus Cluster sounds

Scientists have been able to translate the sounds of the black hole through sound waves captured by NASA’s Chandra X observatory.

NASA produced a sonification of the black hole in the Perseus cluster of galaxies, detected in 2003 and originating 240 million light-years from Earth. The sound waves were captured by the Agency’s own Chandra X-ray observatory.

As reported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in a statement published last week, there was to date a misconception about the absence of sound in space. An affirmation that was based, according to the agency itself, on the premise that most of Space is a vacuum, which does not provide any means for sound waves to propagate.

To obtain the sound, the astronomers were able to first detect, and then extract, the sound waves that were later in a radial direction, and then resynthesize them in the range of the human ear. NASA specifies that it was increased by up to 58 octaves above its actual range, that is, between 144 and 288 quadrillion times more than its original frequency. For sound waves to be able to travel in space, a key circumstance must occur.

It is only possible by the presence of large amounts of gas. On this occasion, the experts discovered that the pressure waves sent by the black hole caused undulations in the hot gas of the cluster and that they could be translated into a musical note, which was the lowest detected in space.

On the other hand, NASA specified in its official note that it is the first sonification of these characteristics, since similar results had not been obtained before. At the same time, it is the first time that sound waves have been extracted from space and have been made audible to humans.

Messier 87 black hole sonification
On the other hand, it is not the first time that NASA has carried out the sonification of a black hole. In 2019, they did the same with the so-called ‘Messier 87’, the largest galaxy in the northern zone of the Virgo Cluster. This discovery could allow astronomers to obtain more details about the Universe and its origins.

Unlike what happened with the aforementioned black hole, in this case the sonification analyzed data from other telescopes that observed M87 on much larger scales, instead of presenting data from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project three years ago. .