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"The Sound of a Black Hole— Yes, for real." Topic

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Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2022 7:23 a.m. PST

While it's true that space is largely a vacuum, and thus transmits no sound, NASA has discovered a nebula so densely packed with gas that it does carry audible sound, centered on a black hole. And it's creepy as… well, Hell.

YouTube link

Note: Some of the sound is actually NASA's "sonification" of data, turning data points into notes based on light intensity, etc.. But at the core is a very low C note (about 57 octaves below "middle C"), actually produced within the nebula, which is within human audible range.

Loop that at as your "background music" for your next space game and watch the players become seriously creeped out. grin

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2022 7:28 a.m. PST

yea…..thousands of lost souls as chaos devours them….

Arjuna23 Aug 2022 9:30 a.m. PST

Of course, Gyorgy Ligeti knew all this already in 1963/65:

Ligeti : Requiem : II Kyrie – On Youtube

And there are others:
Lustmord, Black Star – On Youtube

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2022 9:59 a.m. PST

Disney (and John Barry) had an almost prescient take: YouTube link

Choctaw23 Aug 2022 11:12 a.m. PST

Pretty sure that is the laugh track to "Seinfeld" being played backwards at half speed.

BuckeyeBob23 Aug 2022 11:53 a.m. PST

So once the sound reaches the edge of the dense gas nebula, how is it transmitted from that edge to Earth since all that space beyond the dense gas is a vaccum?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2022 2:19 p.m. PST

As with extrasolar planets, if there is a flaw in NASA's thinking, we'd need an FTL drive to find out. I don't say they're wrong, but I can't take it seriously.

Zephyr123 Aug 2022 2:34 p.m. PST

"The Sound of a Black Hole— Yes, for real."
"And strangely, it sounds like someone slurping soup…"

(I made that last part up… ;-)

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2022 3:07 p.m. PST

Buckeye Bob, I would think that the information is derived from visible movement within the nebula's dust cloud that indicates sound waves transmitting through the medium. It would be similar to having a video of a string vibrating, and interpreting that data to reproduce the sound that vibration actually made. Converting visual light to sound has long been a technology we have, both in analog forms (old sound movie projectors) and digital forms (CDs). In this case, NASA can "see" the sound waves, and thus can convert the data back into an approximation of the original sound.
That's a guess, but I expect it's more or less the correct answer.

skipper John23 Aug 2022 4:12 p.m. PST

Hey, my abdomen sounds like that when I have gas too!

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP23 Aug 2022 6:45 p.m. PST

Choctaw for the win.

Covert Walrus24 Aug 2022 11:10 p.m. PST

Parzival, pretty much the answer.
Other "tones" are data on brightness and radio-length emission re-interpreted as sounds.

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