34 seconds clip set social media ablaze, with many people stunned, let alone that something that sounded like an eerie, guttural growl could escape from a black hole.
The idea that there is no sound in space is actually a “popular misconception,” the agency says. Although most of space is a vacuum, with no medium for sound waves to travel through, a galaxy cluster “has a large amount of gas that surrounds hundreds or even thousands of galaxies and provides a medium for sound waves to travel through.” he explained.
The misconception that there is no sound in space comes from the fact that most of space is a ~vacuum that does not allow sound waves to travel through. There is so much gas in a galaxy cluster that we have received the current sound. Here the black hole is amplified and mixed with other data to hear! pic.twitter.com/RobcZs7F9e
— NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) August 21, 2022
The clip, described by NASA as a “Black Hole Remix,” was first released in early May to coincide with NASA’s Black Hole Week — but NASA’s exoplanet team tweeted on Sunday that the clip had more than 13 million views. times.
Sound waves were discovered in 2003, after that 53 hours of observationResearchers at NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory “discovered that pressure waves felt by the black hole cause recordable fluctuations in the cluster’s hot gas.”
But people couldn’t hear that note because its frequency was too low—add 57 octaves below the piano’s middle C, according to NASA. So the astronomers at Chandra remixed the sound and increased its frequency to 57 and 58 octaves. “Another way of saying this is that they are heard between 144 quadrillion and 288 quadrillion times higher than the original frequency,” NASA said.
Sonification project principal investigator Kimberly Arcand said that when she first heard the sound in late 2021 — which she described as “a really high-pitched, moody beautiful Hans Zimmer score” — she jumped with excitement.
“It was such a beautiful representation of what was in my mind,” the visualization scientist and Chandra’s head of emerging technology told The Washington Post. But it was also a “tipping point” for the abolitionist program as a whole because it “sparked people’s imaginations.”
It also points to areas for future research. “The idea that there are these supermassive black holes scattered all over the universe … is a very attractive thing that makes incredible songs,” Arcand added.
Experts have warned that the sound in NASA’s remix is not what you would hear if you were somehow standing next to a black hole. Michael Smith, professor of astronomy at the University of Kent in England, told The Post that human ears “wouldn’t be sensitive enough to pick up these sound waves.” “But they’re there, they’re the right kind of frequency, and if we amplify it … we can hear it,” Smith said. He likened it to the radio – “you turn up the volume, it’s louder, then you can hear it.”
Arcand said that this idea was formed during the coronavirus pandemic. He worked on converting the X-rays taken by Chandra’s orbiting telescope into images, including creating 3D models that could be printed so that people with low or no vision could access the data. When the pandemic hit, it became difficult to manage this program remotely.
So with other colleagues, he decided to try something new: termination, or the process of converting astronomical data into sound. The team included experts who were blind and encouraged Arcand to “think differently” about the value of turning complex data sets into sound.
Looking at data from the Perseus galaxy cluster from 2003, he and his colleagues worked to determine the properties of the pressure waves and infer the sound they would make, and then increase their frequency.
The decision to release the “re-audit” of nearly two decades of data is part of the agency’s efforts. use social media for complex communication scientific discoveries in plain English for millions of viewers.
Thanks to a partnership with Twitter, NASA discovered that “while fans were enjoying amazing photos of space and behind-the-scenes looks at missions, there was also a group of people who wanted to know what space sounds like.” the company wrote in a news release.
Chris Lintott, professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford, said some experts said the clip was confusing because it gave the impression of the sound “how you would hear it if you were there”. he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday — as if there is a recording device that directly translates sound from a galaxy cluster to Earth.
“Sounding out information is fun and can be helpful – especially for those who can’t see the pictures. But sometimes, like here, it’s used to make things look ‘deeper’ than they really are,” Lintott added.
But Professor Smith of the University of Kent said, “It makes perfect sense to say there are sound waves.” [in the galaxy cluster]and if we were there, if we had ears sensitive enough, we could hear them.
Still, he admitted, “these galaxy clusters are so far away that they have to make a lot of assumptions to make it into what we would hear if we were there.”
Arcand said he understands the criticism from some quarters that sounding risks oversimplifying a complex process — especially in the Perseus galaxy cluster, where the mixture of pressure, heat and gas that provides sound waves is unique to that environment. But the value of the termination, he said, is that it forced him to “question it in different ways.”
“In my opinion, this is a perfect representation of science and sounds quite exciting!” Carole Mundell, head of astrophysics at the University of Bath in England, told The Post via email.
The project, and NASA’s tweets about it, seem to fulfill the space agency’s mission to share its science and research with the wider public through conversation — although not everyone sounds like a fan of the black hole remix.
Online, people were both excited and horrified color comparisons To the Lord of the Rings and Silent Hill series.
Others had fun with an audio clip in which an image was superimposed intergalactic chick on it or remixing a recreated sound is thought to be the closest mummy’s voice.
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