Arcade Fire performs “End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)” in honor of historic black hole discovery

Lorne Thomson/Redferns

Arcade Fire is providing the soundtrack to today’s historic scientific news.

On Thursday, astronomers of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration released the first-ever image of a supermassive black hole located at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The black hole is named Sagittarius A*, which inspired the title of “End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*),” a song from Arcade Fire’s new album, WE.

Fittingly, Arcade Fire was invited to perform “End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)” at the end of European Southern Observatory’s press conference announcing the discovery.

“There is so much that we don’t understand about ourselves; our minds, our planet, our solar system,” frontman Win Butler writes in a post on the band’s social media pages. “When I first read about Sagittarius A*, the massive black hole that sits in the center of our galaxy, it felt symbolic we seek to understand about ourselves, yet fail to grasp.”

He continues, “Today, WE know a little bit more, thanks to the collaboration of a vast network of telescopes and scientists all over the world. A testament to what we can accomplish together as humanity…Perhaps ‘We’ll see one day, what’s on the other side.'”

You can watch footage of Arcade Fire’s performance via the band’s Twitter.

Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, whose band recorded a song called “Supermassive Black Hole,” also reacted to the news, tweeting, “There she is.”

The image of Sagittarius A* comes three years after the first-ever image of any black hole was published in 2019. Its bright orange and black coloring reminded rock fans of the cover of Soundgarden‘s 1994 album Superunknown, which, of course, featured the single “Black Hole Sun.” A petition was even started to name the black hole after the late Chris Cornell.

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