As black holes devour surrounding matter, they sometimes emit X-ray bursts. These explosions bounce the sound off the objects surrounding the black hole and their echoes travel far across the universe.
Recently, a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has successfully developed an automated search engine that can help them capture the echoes emitted by black holes.
The team’s work, dubbed the “Echo Generator”, was based on data from the Neutron stellar composition detector and an X-ray telescope mounted on the International Space Station.
Using the “Echo Generator” instrument, scientists have identified previously undetected echoes from the binary system of black holes in the galaxy.
Of the total 26 black hole binaries identified by the instrument, ten are close enough to Earth to be able to capture the black hole echo.
Audio video of the echo of a black hole.
These echoes are extremely useful to astronomers. They could help researchers pinpoint the location of the black hole’s edge more precisely. They also shed light on how black holes work and what kind of matter they release in these X-ray bursts.
Shortly after succeeding in capturing the black hole echoes, one of the study’s authors converted these echoes into audible sounds.
After listening to the sounds, the team felt that they sounded like wind but had a longer and deeper tone, a kind of ghostly sound with a hidden mystery.