NASA turns “light echoes” of a black hole into sound

The “light echoes” of the black hole were converted into sound by the US space agency.

The mysteries of the black hole continue to amaze us despite extensive space exploration. In a new video, NASA made an effort to explain the wonders of the terrifying phenomenon. The “light echoes” of the black hole were converted into sound by the US Space Agency on Friday.

The space agency took to Instagram to share the video. Black holes are notorious for not allowing light (such as radio, visible light and X-rays) to escape from them. However, surrounding material can produce intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation. As they travel outward, these beams of light can bounce off clouds of gas and dust in space, like how rays of light from car headlights are scattered by fog,” they wrote in the caption.

In the video, the red circular bands are surrounded by a background of stars. Blue bands mark the inner and lower parts of the black hole system. “During the sonication, the cursor moves outward in a circle from the center of the image. As it passes through the light echoes detected in X-rays (seen as concentric rings in blue by Chandra and red by Swift in the image), there are ticking sounds and changes in volume to indicate X-ray detection and brightness variations,” the caption continues.

Watch the video here:

According to NASA, the black hole in the video is about 7,800 light-years from Earth. The black hole has a mass between five and 10 times that of the sun, and it pulls in material from a companion star orbiting it, which is “piped into a disk that encircles the stellar black hole,” the researchers said. V404 Cygni is a system that contains a black hole. A new sonication converts the “light echoes” of the black hole V404 Cygni into sound.

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“NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory have imaged the X-ray echoes around V404 Cygni,” the space agency said. Astronomers can calculate when these outbursts occurred because they know how fast light travels and have determined an accurate distance from this system. This data, along with other information, helps astronomers learn more about dust clouds, such as their composition and distances.

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