Who knew: big black holes sing bass. One particularly monstrous black hole has probably been humming B flat for billions of years, but at a pitch no human could hear, let alone sing, astronomers revealed yesterday (Sept. 9).
“The intensity of the sound is comparable to human speech,” said Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. But the pitch of the sound is about 57 octaves below middle C, roughly the middle of a standard piano keyboard. This is far, far deeper than humans can hear, the researchers said, and they believe it is the deepest note ever detected in the universe.
The sound is emanating from the Perseus Cluster, a giant clump of galaxies some 250 million light-years from Earth. A light-year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km), the distance light travels in a year.