Black hole: listen to the monster lurking in the center of the Milky Way!

The first image of the supermassive black hole which nests in the heart of the Milky Way has just been unveiled by the teams of theEvent Horizon Telescope (EHT). Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) as never seen before. And now even… as we had never heard before. Thanks to that sonification — a translation of the image into sound — proposed in parallel by the researchers.

A kind of radar scan of our black hole supermassive. With changes of volume which represent the different luminosity observed by the EHT around theevent horizon of Sgr A*. the material closer to the black hole, and which therefore moves faster, is translated by frequencies higher sound. And with sonication in 3D stereo sound, sounds appear to move as the radar scan, in the clockwisefrom ear to ear.

The sonification of the inner suburbs of Sagittarius A*. © Sonification: NASA, CXC, SAO, K.Arcand, SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida); Radio picture: EHT Collaboration; X-ray image: NASA, CXC, SAO; Infrared image: NASA, HST, STScI

The same researchers also worked on the sonification of the region surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. On the image, we discover the area as seen in infrared (orange and purple) and in X-rays (blue). Once again, the luminosity of objects is translated into volume. The vertical positions on the image are transcribed by musical pitches. X-rays are played by a soft synthesizer. Low notes and plucked sounds feature infrared.

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