Recently, NASA created its own kind of soundscape using “light echoes” escaping from a black hole. And it’s as soothing as it is creepy.
NASA shared the euphony on Instagram, giving listeners a taste of the softer side of the ungiving, gravitational force.
“Black holes are notorious for not letting light (such as radio, visible and X-rays) escape from them,” the administration shared. “However, surrounding material can produce intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation. As they travel outward, these busts of light can bounce off clouds of gas and dust in space, like how light beams from car’s headlight will scatter off of fog.”
Translating Surrounding Stars into Notes
The strange sounds began with a loud crash before fizzling outward like a wave on a sandy shoreline. Accompanying the almost static-like feedback were the soft notes of a piano, turning something terrifying into something calming.
“Located about 7,800 light-years from Earth, this system that contains a black hole with a mass between five and 10 times the Sun’s, that pulls material from a companion star in orbit around it. This material is funneled into a disk that encircles the stellar-mass black hole,” NASA continued in its post.
Even more interesting about this tune was the fact that those piano notes weren’t chosen at random. Rather, scientists chose those specific notes based on the stars surrounding the black hole.
“This sonification translates X-ray data from both @NASAChandraXray and Swift into sound. To differentiate between the data from the two telescopes, Chandra data is represented by higher-frequency tones while the Swift data is lower,” the post explained. “In addition to the X-rays, the image includes optical data from the Digitized Sky Survey that shows background stars. Each star in optical light triggers a musical note. The volume and pitch of the note are determined by the brightness of the star.”
NASA Shares Stunning Photos of Moon’s Surface
Along with the recent space soundtrack, NASA also shared a few close-ups of the moon’s best angle. Yesterday, the administration shared some of the photos that the Orion spacecraft captured during its sixth day of the Artemis I mission. The four photos demonstrated a consecutively closer look at our favorite satellite. From this angle, we’re able to see the variety of the moon’s many craters in deep detail.
According to NASA, “This photo was taken using Orion’s optical navigational system, which captures black-and-white images of the Earth and Moon in different phases and distances. This vital technology demonstration on the Artemis I flight test will help prove its effectiveness for future crewed missions.”
“Orion also passed over the landing spots from Apollo 11, 12, and 14 and is on its way toward a distant retrograde orbit,” the adminstration continued.