Ever wonder what the Big Bang sounded like?

  1. I confess that I find this stuff fascinating! I love reading articles about space and space travel. But then again I'm a hard-core Star Trek fan! I enjoy ALL of the Star Trek series including Enterprise

    Well, I guess the "Big Bang" made a sound. After a while. A "major chord" type sound, according to this article. And if you listen real intently, you can still hear the "Big Bang" billions of years later. Or is it the teenager's "garage band" practicing in their car garage, down the street from me??? I don't know. I always get the two mixed up!

    Here's to the "Big Bang", the biggest band ever. . .




    The Baby Universe's First Cry: A Million Years in 5 Seconds

    Fluctuations in microwaves from outer space reflect sound waves of the early universe.


    Published: June 8, 2004

    DENVER, June 2 -If the universe is created with a bang but no one is around to witness it, does it still make a sound?

    Some 13.7 billion years later, Dr. Mark Whittle, a professor of astronomy at the University of Virginia, says yes.

    Sound has played an important role in research on the Big Bang, the explosive birth of the universe. In 1963, trying to track a mysterious hiss generated by their microwave antenna, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of Bell Labs discovered the cosmic microwave background, a faint glow of photons left over from the Big Bang.

    Satellites now show minuscule ripples in the cosmic microwaves. Dr. Whittle realized that the ripples - slight variations in density of matter that would determine where stars and galaxies would form - could be seen as sound waves bouncing through the infant 380,000-year-old universe.

    "I have done what is the obvious thing, turning the information into real sounds," said Dr. Whittle, who presented his aural findings here at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

    Sound waves propagate with just the slightest disturbances. The sound of a voice compresses air by one part in five million. The differences in pressure in the primordial gases were 1 part in 10,000, and that corresponds to a satisfyingly loud, but not lethal, 110 decibels - rock concert volume.

    Some massaging of the data was needed. The cosmic sound waves stretched 20,000 light-years, moved at half the speed of light, and were about 50 octaves below what people can hear. Dr. Whittle shifted the sounds to the human audible range, producing a chord like the sound of a jet engine. He used computer models to generate the cosmic chords from creation for the first million years and condensed them to five seconds.

    The Big Bang actually erupted in complete silence. In the first instant, the mass of the universe was spread out completely evenly. No pressure differences, no sound.

    But after that, the quiet vanished.

    "For the first 400,000 years," Dr. Whittle said, "it sounds like a descending scream falling into a dull roar."

    Over the first million years, Dr. Whittle said, the music of the cosmos also shifted from a pleasant major chord to a more somber minor one.
    Last edit by Ted on Jun 12, '04
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    What is the sound of one hand clapping?

    Seriously though, if there was no air or other matter to carry the sound, there was no noise.
  4. by   kmchugh
    I used to wonder about this, then I married a red head. Now, I figure the sound of the big bang has nothing on what I hear if I'm late.

  5. by   canoehead
    Well, how many times has she told you NOT to be late?? She's there slaving over a hot stove to get YOUR dinner, and you have the gall to just stroll in ANY TIME YOU FEEL LIKE IT??? I hope you know how to cook buddy, because you'll be making your own grub tonight. And that's not ALL you'll be doing alone!

  6. by   teeituptom
    30 years of being married to a redhead and raising 7 kids

    I have developed the art of selective hearing loss to an art
  7. by   canoehead
    Tom, you are just lucky they let you live.
  8. by   teeituptom
    It is a wonder aint it

    they just like my paychecks
  9. by   Ted

    Had no idea that: 1) ANYONE would respond to this thread. Most of the threads I start die a slow death. And 2) that this thread would go is such a direction. Very funny!