Here’s what a black hole sounds like: NASA releases recorded audio from its Chandra X-ray observatory

Here’s what a black hole sounds like: NASA publishes recorded audio from its Chandra X-ray observatory and plays like a Hans Zimmer score

  • The sound waves were recorded by NASA’s space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, as astronomical data, then translated into sounds audible to humans.
  • The Perseus cluster of galaxies enveloping the hot gas provided the medium for sound waves
  • Sonification was created by increasing the sounds 57 or 58 octaves above pitch

NASA Scientists have released audio from a black hole in the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster more than 200 million light years from Earth.

The sound waves were recorded by NASA’s space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, in the form of astronomical data, then translated into sounds that humans can hear.

While there is a “popular misconception” that “there is no sound in space” because there is no means for sound waves to travel, the newly released audio sounds a lot like a Hans Zimmer soundtrack.

Astronomers from the space agency have realized that the hot gas enveloping Perseus, a beam of galaxies 11 million light years wide, could be translated into audio.

This gas that surrounds hundreds and even thousands of galaxies provides a medium through which sound waves can travel.

Sonification was created by re-synthesizing sound waves in the range of human hearing, “scaling them up 57 or 58 octaves” above their actual pitch.

Composer Hans Zimmer, who wrote the soundtracks for the Oscar-winning sci-fi film Interstellar, created music eerily similar to that of NASA’s latest soundbite.

NASA has released audio of a black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster more than 200 million light years from Earth, recorded by the Chandra X-ray Observatory (pictured)

In previous attempts at sonification of astronomical data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, several musical instruments such as violins have recreated the noises.

NASA said of the sound wave broadening process: “Another way to put it is that 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times their original frequency are heard.”

The sound was released to celebrate NASA’s Black Hole Week this year and included as part of NASA’s Universe of Learning program.

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