Have you ever compared the skies and stars to dancing? In many books and stories I’ve read, heavenly bodies have been depicted as undulating in a coordinated array of motion, as if swaying to some unheard melody that only they can fathom. ‘The stars danced in the sky’ seems to be a popular description among many fellow sim players in the various games I’ve played over the last decade. So do stars really dance? Perhaps they do. At the very least, they play music! Okay, the stars may not play music, but a black hole did – well, a single note anyway.
Back in November of 2003, astronomers actually heard a note coming from the Perseus Galaxy, a massive cluster galaxies located a mere 250 million light years away from earth. What sort of note? Using technology along with gold old fashion music theory, Dr. Andrew Fabian and a team of colleagues at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England determined that a note detected from the cluster was, in fact, a B-flat. Don’t expect to be able to hear this celestial tone – it rings out at about 57 octaves below middle C. That’s over a billion times lower than the lowest note the human ear can hear.
So next time you gaze up at the stars and see them gleam and prance in the night sky, it may very well be to a tune that only they can hear.
You can read more about this musical cluster by heading over to Nasa’s website.