Astronomers have taken clearest photos but of “odd radio circles” – mysterious radio waves one million mild years throughout – and so they all appear to have central galaxies containing lively supermassive black holes



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22 March 2022

ORC1 image from MeerKAT_Credit J. English, EMU, MeerKAT, DES

A picture of an odd radio circle from the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa

J. English, EMU, MeerKAT, DES.

We lastly have a sharper picture of one of many weirdest phenomena in house. These aptly named odd radio circles, or ORCs, are circles of radio waves that don’t appear to emit any radiation in different wavelengths, not like many different objects seen in radio waves.

A workforce of researchers led by Ray Norris on the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Analysis Organisation first noticed these unusual circles in 2020 utilizing the Australian Sq. Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope. Astronomers have now definitively noticed 5 of them, with a number of extra unconfirmed candidates. Now Norris and his colleagues have used the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa to take the sharpest picture but of an ORC.

Odd radio circles are about a million mild years throughout, bigger than even the most important spiral galaxies. Of the 5 confirmed ORCs, astronomers had seen galaxies on the centres of three of them, which hinted that the circles is likely to be shaped by some galactic course of.

The brand new observations from MeerKAT have revealed that each one ORCs appear to have central galaxies containing lively supermassive black holes. That considerably narrows down the choices for what ORCs might be. Based on Norris, there at the moment are three most important choices: they might be particles from a enormous explosion of their host galaxies, they might come from jets of fabric spewed out by supermassive black holes, or they might come from residual power from bursts of star formation.

It would take extra observations with extra delicate radio telescopes to determine which of those explanations is the right one. The Sq. Kilometre Array, an enormous array of radio telescopes with sections in each Australia and South Africa, is anticipated to search out many extra ORCs and assist shut the guide on what they are surely as soon as it’s totally constructed in 2028.

Journal reference: Month-to-month Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stac701

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