NASA has recently captured an eerie audio clip that represents actual sound waves rippling through the gas and plasma in the Perseus galaxy cluster, located 250 million light years from Earth.
This mysterious pulsating light, known as GPM J1839–10, has been blinking in space every 21 minutes since at least 1988, and scientists are still trying to figure out what it is.
The common belief that space is silent stems from the fact that most of it is a vacuum, providing no medium for sound waves to travel.
However, the Perseus galaxy cluster has so much gas that actual sound waves have been detected. These acoustic signals were first identified in 2003 in data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, but they have never been brought into the hearing range of the human ear until now.
The misconception that there is no sound in space originates because most space is a ~vacuum, providing no way for sound waves to travel. A galaxy cluster has so much gas that we've picked up actual sound. Here it's amplified, and mixed with other data, to hear a black hole! pic.twitter.com/RobcZs7F9e— NASA Exoplanets (@NASAExoplanets) August 21, 2022
The sound waves in their natural environment are 57 octaves below the note middle C, making this black hole a cosmic baritone. To make these tremors audible to humans, scientists raised their frequencies quadrillions of times. The resulting sound is chilling and would fit perfectly in a Halloween playlist.
This discovery is part of the space sonification genre, where astronomical data is converted into sound waves. It opens up new possibilities for understanding the universe and brings us one step closer to unraveling the mysteries of space. As we continue to explore the cosmos, we can expect to encounter more of these off-Earth bops, each one promising to reveal new insights about our universe.