The sound of a black hole, audible thanks to a computer process

Since 2003, the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster has been associated with sound. This is because astronomers discovered that pressure waves sent out by the black hole caused ripples in the cluster's hot gas that could be translated into a musical note (a process called 'sonification').

Specifically, that note is an 'infrasound' that is about 57 octaves below central C, a note that receives this name because it is approximately in the center of the piano keyboard.

Now a new sonification brings more notes and is unlike any other done before because it reviews the real sound waves discovered in data from NASA's Chandra X-ray observatory, says the US space agency in a press release.

Yes there is sound in space

The misconception that there is no sound in space stems from the fact that most of space is essentially a vacuum, providing no means for sound waves to propagate.

Instead, a galaxy cluster contains large amounts of gas that engulf the hundreds or even thousands of component galaxies, providing a medium for sound waves to travel.

In this new sonification of Perseus, sound waves previously identified by astronomers were extracted and made audible for the first time. The sound waves were extracted in a radial direction, that is, away from the center. The signals were then resynthesized to the range of human hearing by scaling them up 57 and 58 octaves above their actual pitch.

Another way to say it is that it sounds 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than its original frequency. A quadrillion is a million trillion and is expressed by the unit followed by 24 zeros.

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