The incredible feat has been achieved thanks to the “echoes” the space phenomena release in the form of X-Rays. In 2003, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory detected these waves in the Perseus galaxy cluster. Now, they have been converted from data into sound waves in the human hearing range for NASA’s Black Hole Week 2022.
NASA said in a statement: “In some ways, this sonification is unlike any other done before because it revisits the actual sound waves discovered in data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
“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.
“A galaxy cluster, on the other hand, 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.”
In addition to the Perseus galaxy cluster, a new sonification was released of the black hole in Messier 87, or M87.
This black hole gained celebrity status in science after an image was released from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project in 2019.
NASA added: “The sound waves were extracted in radial directions, that is, outwards from the centre.
“The signals were then resynthesises into the range of human hearing by scaling them upward by 57 and 58 octaves above their true pitch.
“Another way to put this is that they are being heard 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than their original frequency.”
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These are the remains of supernova explosions in stars at least 25-40 times the mass of the Sun.
The new research, published in the Astrophysical Journal suggests it is much more common for black holes to emit these “echoes”.
In a search of 26 black holes known to emit X-rays as they feed on material from a companion star, experts at MIT found echoes in 10 of them.
They then collaborated with music scholars to turn these electromagnetic waves into sound.