One youtuber described it as the “background music of a scariest horror movie” but actually it’s the noise made by a black hole, or almost.
Before reading the rest of the article, give this sound a listen.
It’s eerie, interesting and happens to be the sound of a black hole at the centre of the Perseus galaxy according to NASA. Scientists have been studying the phenomena since 2003 and found out that pressure waves from the black hole caused “ripples in the cluster’s hot gas” which then could be translated into a “note”.
This note, however, is 57 octaves below middle C but using sonification they were able to create what you heard above. At a basic level, sonification is the process of turning astronomical data into sound according to earthsky.org.
Researchers extracted the sounds waves from the Perseus black hole then resynthesized them for humans to understand by cranking up the octaves by about 57 to 58 above the original sound NASA said. This is 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher.
NASA has about 15 black hole sonification’s with all data coming from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, a flagship-class telescope that was launched from the Columbia Space Shuttle in 1993. It’s sole purpose it to study the X-ray Universe according to it’s twitter which lists it’s location as “in orbit”.
Scientists estimate the Perseus black hole to be 240 million light years away and detailed that galaxies provide plenty of noises.
“The popular misconception that there is no sound in space originates with the fact that most of space is essentially a vacuum, providing no medium for sound waves to propagate through,” NASA said.
“A galaxy cluster… has copious amounts of gas that envelop the hundreds or even thousands of galaxies within it, providing a medium for the sound waves to travel.”