What is Hum of the Universe?

The Hum of the Universe was recently detected by the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). According to the researchers, the hum was produced by gravitational waves.

About the Hum of the Universe

  • The Hum of the Universe comes from a type of dead star called a “Pulsar”. These stars are basically neutron stars. They are oriented in such a manner that they flash beams of radio waves from their poles as they rotate.
  • This is the first time the humming sound has been heard from a pulsar collision. Earlier scientists have observed such humming sound. However, they were from black hole mergers. The humming sound from blackhole mergers were detected by LIGO observatories. LIGO is LASER Inferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory.
  • The discovery of humming sound from pulsars is to be a great step for the members of Pulsar Timing Array.

Blackhole Hum

Similar humming sounds are produced when black holes collide. Such sounds are called Black Hole hums. On an average more than hundred thousand mergers of black holes occur in the universe in a year.


NANOGrav is North American Nano hertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves. The main objective of NANOGrav is to detect gravitational waves. The project is implemented by Parkes Pulsar Timing Array, International Pulsar Timing Array and European Pulsar Timing Array.

Pulsar Timing Array

It is a programme of regular, timing observation of widely distributed array of millisecond pulsars. A millisecond pulsar is a pulsar with rotational period smaller than about ten milli seconds. A millisecond pulsar is a pulsar with rotational speed smaller than ten milli seconds.

Indian Pulsar Timing Array

It is a project of National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. It aims to detect nano-hertz gravitational waves by precision timing.


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