Astronomers have discovered something unexpected coming from the Perseus Cluster of galaxies which lies some 250 million light years from Earth. Dr. Andrew Fabian at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, England has heard the lowest sound waves from an object in the universe ever detected by humans and coming from the center black hole of a cluster of galaxies which turns out to be the largest structure in the cosmos. Fabian’s team determined that this note is a B-flat some 57 octaves below middle-C, or one million, billion times lower than the lowest sound audible to the human ear. The Perseus Cluster’s black hole sound waves have a frequency of 10 million years! The lowest sounds a human can hear travel at about 1/20th of a second by comparison.
Dear reader, your editor made C’s in physics, so this is all Greek, but suffice it to say that greater minds can tell us how black holes are ‘singing’ using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, an orbiting telescope that sees the Universe in X-ray frequencies just as the Hubble Space telescope sees it in visible light. Interesting to a musician to be sure, but to astronomers, this drone may be the key in learning how galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the Universe, grow. So, they are looking at other galaxy clusters to ‘hear’ more ‘singing’ black holes.