LIGO Document P1800019-v3

A Carillon of Black Holes

Document #:
LIGO-P1800019-v3
Document type:
P - Publications
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Abstract:
Scientists collaborating internationally have developed a new way to learn about our universe through gravitational waves, which are ripples in space-time caused by the motion and vibration of celestial bodies. By analogy, gravitational waves are akin to the vibrations carried through the air as sound. Quite remarkably, black holes, which are the densest objects in the universe formed from dead stars can vibrate and emit gravitational waves at frequencies that are within the range of human hearing once the gravitational waves are detected and amplified by instruments such as the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave detectors. In this work, we explore how to make musical instruments based on gravitational waves by mapping different gravitational wave patterns to each of the 88 keys of a piano, much like a carillon, which has its bells mapped to the batons of a carillon-keyboard. We rely on theoretical calculations for black hole vibrations to construct our digital black hole instruments. Our software and music samples are freely available to those who want to explore the music of gravitational waves.
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