NASA Video Reveals Black Hole 'Sound' Via Galaxy Cluster

NASA has released audio purported to be the "sound" of a supermassive black hole, situated 250 million light-years away from Earth.

The eerie 34-second clip has been viewed 12.8 million times on Twitter, receiving more than 334,000 likes. It was posted by NASA Exoplanets, part of the space agency which specializes in the hunt for "planets and life beyond our solar system."

NASA Exoplanets said in the tweet alongside the video: "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!"

The recording is of sound waves coming out of a black hole in the Perseus cluster of galaxies. This collection of galaxies, 11 million light-years wide, is packed with gas.

NASA Data Sonification: Black Hole Remix
In this sonification of Perseus, the sound waves astronomers previously identified were extracted and made audible for the first time. The sound waves were extracted outward from the center. NASA

To make them audible for humans the acoustic waves have been boosted by 57 and 58 octaves, meaning the frequency was increased quadrillions of times and mixed with "other data." The sound, from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, was first released in May.

In a statement accompanying its original release NASA said: "Since 2003, the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster has been associated with sound. This is because astronomers discovered that pressure waves sent out by the black hole caused ripples in the cluster's hot gas that could be translated into a note – one that humans cannot hear some 57 octaves below middle C.

"Now a new sonification brings more notes to this black hole sound machine. This new sonification – that is, the translation of astronomical data into sound – is being released for NASA's Black Hole Week this year."

Scientists first detected acoustic waves coming from gas surrounding the Perseus galaxy cluster black hole in 2003. The lowest note recorded, a B-flat, had a frequency of 10 million years.

This is far below the lowest note humans can hear, which is a frequency of around one-twentieth of a second.

Earlier this month NASA released a video showing a "cannibal" coronal mass ejection (CME), which launched from the surface of the Sun on August 15. The enormous cloud of hot plasma, released from Sunspot region 3078, was filmed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

As a result, Earth was hit by solar radiation and plasma on August 19, in line with a warning issued by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

In a separate incident, NASA was able to film a comet, nicknamed "the dirty snowball," disintegrating after flying close by the Sun on August 6. Images captured by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, which is jointly operated by NASA and the European Space Agency, showed the comet evaporating.

Newsweek reached out to NASA for comment.