Scientists have noticed mysterious radio structures among a great cluster of galaxies located 800 million light-years away from us. Researchers have never seen some of these radio objects before. But the most interesting thing is that the find challenges our understanding of the universe and offers an unprecedented look at the turbulent regions of the cosmic web – a network of nodes connecting the universe. As the scientists noted, they challenge existing theories, both about the origin of such objects and about their characteristics.
Abell 3266 research
The Abell 3266 galaxy cluster, stretching over 300 million light-years, is one of the largest structures of its kind in the Universe. It has attracted the attention of scientists because it is the confluence of several giant clusters, opening a window into the consequences of incredibly huge cosmic collisions. Therefore, astronomers have been actively studying it for years, especially in X-ray and visible light.
Now scientists led by astrophysicist Christopher Riseley, a researcher at the University of Bologna, have investigated new images of Abell 3266. They were made using the Australian telescopes Array Pathfinder (ASCAP) and Compact Array (ATCA) – two of the largest radio observatories on Earth.
Paper day! Yesterday in @RAS_Journals #MNRAS, today on @_arXiv_astro_ph! Among other things in the complex cluster Abell 3266, we found a radio halo. This is a discovery almost a decade in the making – buckle up, it’s story time… 1/n pic.twitter.com/GUtqbK0c6b
— Chris Riseley (@cjriseley) August 2, 2022
According to a study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the data obtained fills in the absence of detailed radio observations of Abell 3266 in the past and discovered several new radio structures, and also provided an unprecedented look at other objects in the cluster.
Mysterious radio halo and unclassified “ridge”
According to the results of observations, the structures in Abell 3266 include a huge radio halo, discovered for the first time in 10 years of observations and containing an expanded central diffuse “ridge”, which scientists have not been able to classify. The researchers also discovered the so-called “irregular relic”, an arc-shaped structure with a strange concave shape and other features never seen in such objects. A “fossil plasma source” was also spotted, created by the powerful explosions of a supermassive black hole, which has since disappeared into the dark.
The problem is that the properties of these strange radio sources are not compatible with the current understanding of the origin and evolution of such structures. Many of these secrets may be revealed through future ASKAP and ATCA observations, as well as through a huge project known as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), which will become the most sensitive radio observatory on Earth when it is completed around this decade. So far, scientists are unable to explain the true nature of the origin of many structures. “Our best physical models simply cannot explain it,” the scientists wrote.
Earlier we talked about a mysterious object shining 570 billion times stronger than the Sun.
Follow us on Twitter to get the most interesting space news in time