People seem to be fascinated with the concept of sound in space. This was just underscored for us when we saw this great TED talk by physicist Janna Levin.

We have some personal experience with the public’s interest in the topic. Way back in 2003, we did a story on the black hole at the center of the Perseus Cluster. The energy generated by the giant black hole was responsible for sound waves propagating through the intercluster gas. (If you're curious, the black hole was bleating out a B flat some 52 octaves below middle C.)

Perseus Cluster

There are other examples of sound in space that don't involve George Lucas or the latest Star Trek franchise. But the question remains: what makes the concept of sound in space so engaging? If you have thoughts on the matter, we’d love to hear them. (Sorry, bad pun. Really bad pun.)

-Megan Watzke, CXC


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I think there are other

I think there are other reasons for humanizing the Universe. And I'd get rid of the term humanazing, I'd call it animation. I personally believe that our nature, planet, universe are alive in some way. They function as a unity, with some laws and appropriateness that can't be understood by a human being today. And even a human being is a part of this system even though we want to put ourselves higher that we are.
And turning back to the sounds of the Universe. There is a very thin and at the same time strong connection between such notions sound-song-harmony. If not to take into account the modern music, all classical music, sounds of nature and folklore singing have harmony, as well as the sounds of the Universe recorded.
Sincerely, Ann,


Humanizing the cosmos?

Megan: I'm not a sociologist, but i think that one could think about why people engage sound in space in terms of humanizing things. When a cow speaks, in a kids story, we are humanizing the cow. We are giving the cow some human caracteristics.
When a black hole 'speaks' is the same. They are more 'human'.
Another thing, related, is the relation between sounds and arts. Speaking is very similar to singing. So, it's inspiring to think in black holes singing, in an artistic way.
But, as you know, these ideas underly some notion of 'conscience' or intention, that it's not true.
So, it's good to establish relationships between science and arts, it could engage the public, but we should be cautious about the meaning of this.
These cosmic things are not talking to us. These 'sounds', however, could be meaningful to understand their physical properties, neither more nor less. Well, that's what i think...
PS: Sorry if my english is not good enough...


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