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NASA has revealed the nature of the obnoxious sound that a supermassive black hole emits

NASA has revealed the nature of the obnoxious sound that a supermassive black hole emits


Recreation of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. Photo: ESO/L. Calçada

Since 2003, the black hole at the center of the Perseus cluster of galaxies has been associated with sound. This is because astronomers have discovered that pressure waves sent out by the black hole cause ripples in the cluster’s hot gas that can be translated into a tone that humans can’t hear at about 57 octaves below middle C. Now a new sonication brings more notes on this. Black hole sound machine This new sound, that is, the translation of astronomical data into sound, will be released in the black hole week of the week Container this year.

In some ways, this sonication is unlike anything that’s been done before because it revisits actual sound waves detected in data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The common misconception that there is no sound in space stems from the fact that most of space is essentially a vacuum, and provides no means for sound waves to propagate. A cluster of galaxies, on the other hand, contains large amounts of gas that swallow hundreds or even thousands of galaxies within, providing a medium for sound waves to travel.

In this new sonication of Perseus, the sound waves previously identified by astronomers have been extracted and named for the first time. The sound waves were plotted in radial directions, i.e. off-center. The signals were then re-processed to the human auditory range by boosting them by 57 and 58 octaves above the actual pitch. Another way of expressing this is that 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times more than its original frequency is heard. (A quadrillion equals 1,000,000,000,000,000). Radar-like scanning around the image allows you to hear the waves emitted in different directions. In the visible image of this data, blue and magenta show the X-ray data captured by Chandra.

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In addition to the Perseus galaxy cluster, a new sonication of another famous black hole is being launched. The black hole of Messier 87, or M87, has been studied by scientists for decades and gained a celebrity status in science after the first launch of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project in 2019. This new sonication does not provide EHT data, but it appears in data from Other telescopes observed M87 at much larger ranges around the same time. The visible coordination image contains three panels, from top to bottom, of X-rays from Chandra, optical light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and radio waves from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile. The brightest area to the left of the image is where the black hole is, and the structure at the top right is a jet from the black hole. The jet is caused by matter falling into the black hole. Sonification scans the image in three levels from left to right, with each wavelength assigned to a different range of audio tones. Radio waves are mapped to lower tones, optical data to midtones, and X-rays detected by Chandra to higher tones. The brightest part of the image corresponds to the noisiest part of the sonication process, in which astronomers found a black hole of 6.5 billion solar masses captured by the EHT.

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