NASA tweeted a mysterious and ghostly melody: a howl coming from the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster. This is sonification, or astronomical data being translated into sound waves.
Enticing, frightening and mysterious: this sound coming from a black hole located in the Perseus galaxy cluster, about 250 million light-years away from us, will not leave you indifferent.
NASA revealed what scientists call a Sonificationor translation of astronomical data into an audible file.
The Perseus cluster is one of the largest objects in the universe: it contains thousands of galaxies immersed in a huge cloud of superheated gas. In an X-ray image taken by a space telescope Chandra (see top of article), large light loops, ripples, and jet-like streaks can be seen throughout the cluster.
Waves in gas
from 2003, the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster is associated with noise. In fact, the astronomers found that the pressure waves emitted by the black hole caused ripples in the cluster’s hot gas that could translate into a note—a note humans can’t hear, fifty-seven octaves below middle C.
Sound waves do not actually propagate in the interstellar void, but thanks to the mass of gas – the support for the propagation of this song – the sound becomes concrete. By amplifying it and mixing it with other data, it gives this amazing scream from the depths of space.
This sonification is unlike anything that has been done before (see for example these pages: 1, 2, 3, 4), which replicates the original sound waves found in the data fromChandra X-ray Observatory From NASA.
Sound waves are extracted in radial directions, i.e. outwards from the center. These signals were then scaled 57 and 58 octaves from their original pitch to the human hearing range.
144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion can be heard twice as high as their original frequency. [ndlr. un quadrillion est égal à 1’000’000’000’000’000]. Radar-like scanning around the image makes it possible to listen for waves emanating in different directions. In a visual image of this data, in the video, the blue and purple colors show the X-ray data captured by Chandra.
>> A NASA page with sonification of various cosmic objects: A universe of sound
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