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“What Does a Black Hole Sound Like?” “Sonifying” the Visuals

To help people who are visually impaired experience the images, NASA has begun “sonifying” its photos of outer space. Recently, this involved recreating the sound of a black hole some 240 light-years away. This marks the first time in history that people on earth can hear the sounds of a black hole: “a low-pitched groaning, as if a very creaky heavy door was being opened again and again.” The electromagnetic data that made this sound possible had been around for nearly 20 years, with the decision to transform it into sound occurring recently as part of NASA’s initiative to convert its space photography into something that could be appreciated by the ear. NASA has released a brief audio piece of the sound which can be heard by clicking here on the 35-second audio clip of the New NASA Black Hole Sonifications with a Remix. To learn more about the development of this technology, read the article from Houston Public Media: Space: NPR: What does a black hole sound like? NASA has an answer.