You’ve Seen the New Image of the Milky Way’s Black Hole – Now Hear It!

This is a sonification — translation into sound — of the latest image from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*). Using a radar-like scan, the sonification begins at the 12 o’clock position and sweeps clockwise. Changes in the volume represent the differences in brightness the EHT observed around the event horizon of Sgr A*. The material that is closer to the black hole and hence moving faster corresponds to higher frequencies of sound. This sonification was processed in a special way to allow a listener to hear the data in 3D stereo sound, in which the sounds seem to start directly ahead and then move clockwise to one ear and then the other as the sweep is made.

About the Sound:

  • This is a radar-like scan, starting from 12 o’clock and moving clockwise.
  • The brightness controls the volume and the radial position controls the frequencies that are present.
  • The emission from material closer to the black hole (which orbits faster) is mapped to higher frequencies.
  • The sound is rendered in binaural audio. When listened to with headphones, the sound will appear to start directly in front of you and then move clockwise all the way around your head.
  • Listen for the three bright regions at about 1, 5, and 9 o’clock, as well as the very low tones indicating fainter light from outside the main ring.

Sonification Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida);

Image Credit: Radio: EHT Collaboration; X-ray (NASA/CXC/SAO); Infrared (NASA/HST/STScI)

Black HoleChandra X-ray ObservatoryEvent Horizon TelescopePopular
Comments ( 15 )
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  • John Mausen

    Sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum. I don’t know what this is, but it’s definitely not sound from a black hole.

  • SilversX

    I agree John. This is just a blurred photo of some low watt lights with an animation and sound to mess with peoples minds. Oh my I can here a black hole from Uranus wha… yeah ok, and I got a bridge for sale.

  • Alan

    Obviously the BH doesn’t emit sound in vacuum, this is a down frequency translation converted to sound, is just a modest appreciation for the masses to understand something of the universe mechanism

  • Chris

    Sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum, but other types of waves do. These waves can be “translated” into sound that humans can hear. This process is called sonification, and has led to discoveries that would have been overlooked otherwise.

  • Bill G.

    Why reply to people who don’t read the article? The description of the process was stated.

  • M

    Yeah. No kidding sound doesn’t travel in a vaccuum. What we can do though is create an emulator that translates light into sound based on what that type of radiation would sound like if experienced under air pressure. It’s not that hard to understand. But. Hey. Conspiracy theories in these two comments. Way more believable.

  • Me

    How stupid do they really think we are? So you can just about see Pluto from a telescope on earth, and you need to send up robots to take pictures of Mars, yet you can take pictures from way beyond our own galaxy of another galaxy? And now they say they can hear the sound of the black hole from that distance!? Complete rubbish!
    Ooohhh I’ve lost all the data to get to the moon! But now I can take pictures and hear sounds from other galaxy’s. OK nasa 👌

  • Hema Jain

    Ppl r dumbass ,who keep 9n commenting ridiculous things without prior knowledge…these sound effects r took by researchers through converting the pressure waves into audio .
    .

  • Liz

    Pressure waves, people…they sonified pressure waves.

  • e

    e

  • lisa

    To the guy who said e.
    Thank you.

  • Kianu

    To dumb it down.. Its sound produced from the waves of the image…
    I personally think a black hole will have a dusturbing “hum” rather. It’s cool to theorize rather than jumping down our throats about consipiracy theories. Open your mind people.

  • e

    e.

  • Dick

    I was expecting something more like a Metallica riff but o.k.

  • Adam

    Me – are you a flat earther? You sound like an absolute moron, I suggest you read up about the Event Horizon Telescope project and science in general before you give your dumb opinions.