Scientists from NASA have released an eerie, Hans Zimmer-like audio from a radar that captured sounds from a black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster. The actual sound waves were discovered in data collected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory and have been converted from astronomical data into human-hearable sound. The release coincides with Black Hole Week.
Astronomers found that ripples in the Perseus black hole’s hot gas could be converted to sound.
Listen to the audio clip here:
NASA stated that it was a popular misconception that “there is no sound in space” because most space is a vacuum, leaving no medium for sound waves to travel. The space agency further explained that galaxy clusters consist of copious amounts of gas enveloping hundreds and even thousands of galaxies, thus providing a medium for the sound waves to travel.
Sky News says this sonification is different from previous efforts that translated astronomical data into an auditory form using other instruments. This time, the agency resynthesized the soundwaves to accommodate the human hearing range, scaling them upwards by 57 and 58 octaves above their absolute pitch. But these sounds were not replayed using violins or other instruments.
The audio sounds spookily like a score by noted composer Hans Zimmer, who has given the soundtrack for science-fiction hits, including Blade Runner 2049 and Interstellar.
These sonifications, led by the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), were a part of NASA’s Universe of Learning (UoL) program with support from the Goddard Space Flight Center/ Hubble Space Telescope. The collaboration was led by visualization scientist Kimberly Arcand (CXC), musician Andrew Santaguida and astrophysicist Matt Russo (both of the SYSTEMS Sound project). NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center handles the Chandra program.