Odd radio circles, also known as ORCs, are the latest wonder phenomena in astronomy, and they have been brought into clear focus by a multinational group of scientists utilizing the planet’s most powerful radio telescopes.
(Credit: J. English (U. Manitoba) / EMU / MeerKAT / DES(CTIO))
Cosmic shockwaves, wormhole mouths, and a variety of other theories have been proposed as possible reasons. One of the most comprehensive images ever taken by the MeerKAT space telescope of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory is supplying scientists with more data to aid narrow down the range of possible explanations.
In recent years, 3 major ideas have emerged to describe what produces ORCs: They may be the remnants of a huge blast at the core of their mother galaxy, such as the crash of 2 supermassive black holes; they could very well be mighty jets of high energy particles gushing out from the galaxy’s core; or they could be the outcome of a starburst termination shock wave caused by the birth of stars in the cosmos, among other possibilities.
Scientists have only been able to identify ORCs via the use of radio telescopes so far and have found no evidence of them through the use of visual, infrared, or even X-ray observatories.
The loops are massive, measuring over a million light-years wide, making them 16 fold the size of our own galaxy. Odd radio circles, nonetheless, are difficult to detect.
ORCs are known to be rings of feeble radio radiation encircling a galaxy with a very energetic black hole being at the core, but researchers don’t yet understand what creates these or why they would be so uncommon. Researchers will require accessibility to far more powerful radio telescopes, notably those at the SKA Observatory, in order to fully comprehend the phenomenon of strange radio circles.
Between now and the time when the SKA goes active, ASKAP & MeerKAT are poised to transform our knowledge of the cosmos at a rate never previously seen.
The findings were published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society