Astronomers have photographed mysterious radio circles

Using the array of MeerKAT radio telescopes, astronomers have obtained the most detailed images of the mysterious circles observed in the radio range.

One of the giant circles photographed by the MeerKat radio telescope. Source: J. English (U. Manitoba) / EMU / MeerKAT / DES (CTIO)

The giant circles were discovered in 2020 during observations made by the Australian radio telescope ASKAP. Their diameter is about a million light years. This is much larger than the size of our Galaxy. Mysterious structures really puzzled astronomers: they have never encountered such formations before.

In an attempt to solve the mystery of the circles, researchers used the South African radio telescope MeerKAT. In the course of observations, they were able to establish that these structures surround galaxies in the center of which there are active supermassive black holes. Astronomers also managed to find several radio-filaments inside the rings, the nature of which remains unknown.

According to the results of observations, scientists have put forward three main hypotheses about the origin of the circles. According to the first version, they are the products of a giant explosion in the center of the galaxy, caused by an event such as the merger of two supermassive black holes. According to the second hypothesis, the circles arose as a result of the activity of jets bursting from the galactic nucleus. The third version says that such a circle is a flash of star formation in the galaxy, which ejects hot gas outside it, forming a spherical shock wave.

According to scientists, in the future they intend to continue observations to reveal the nature of the unusual phenomenon. It should be mentioned that MeerKat recently filmed the biggest shock wave in the universe.

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