‘Dancing ghosts’ are spotted about a billion light years from Earth that formed from electrons spewing out of two supermassive black holes
- ‘Dancing ghosts’ were spotted swirling around two galaxies deep in space
- The figures are a result of supermassive black holes, each at a center of a galaxy
- The black holes are releasing electrons that are captured by galactic winds
A pair of ‘dancing ghosts’ have been spotted swirling around two ‘host’ galaxies some one billion light years from Earth.
Researchers from Western Sydney University and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, reveal the ghoulish figures are actually clouds of electrons spewing from two supermassive black holes that sit at the center of the galaxies.
The giant spectral clouds, named PKS 2130-538, were captured by galactic winds that created the twirling figures.
The team hopes this discovery will allow them to uncover more about how black holes behave and what could occur in the space between the two galaxies.
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A pair of ‘dancing ghosts’ have been spotted swirling around two ‘host’ galaxies some one billion light years from Earth. Researchers say the ghoulish figures are actually clouds of electrons spewing from two supermassive black holes that sit at the center of the galaxies
Western Sydney University and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, said in a statement: ‘When we first saw the ‘dancing ghosts’ we had no idea what they were. After weeks of work, we figured out we were seeing two ‘host’ galaxies, about a billion light years away.
‘In their centers are two supermassive black holes, squirting out jets of electrons that are then bent into grotesque shapes by an intergalactic wind.
‘New discoveries however always raise new questions and this one is no different. We still don’t know where the wind is coming from? Why it is so tangled? And what is causing the streams of radio emission?
‘It will probably take many more observations and modelling before we understand any of these things.’
The dancing ghosts were discovered through the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project, which uses the new ASKAP telescope to analyze radio sources in space
The dancing ghosts were discovered through the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project, which uses the new ASKAP telescope to analyze radio sources in space.
The ASKAP telescope is operated by the CSIRO and forms part of the Australia Telescope National Facility.
It uses novel technology to achieve extremely high survey speeds, making it one of the best instruments in the world for mapping the sky at radio wavelengths.
Other objects and phenomena uncovered so far as part of the EMU Project include the discovery of the mysterious Odd Radio Circles, which seem to be giant rings of radio emission nearly a million light years across, surrounding distant galaxies.
‘We are even finding surprises in places we thought we understood. Next door to the well-studied galaxy IC5063, we found a giant radio galaxy, one of the largest known, whose existence had never even been suspected,’ Norris said.
‘Its supermassive black hole is generating jets of electrons nearly 5 million light years long.
‘ASKAP is the only telescope in the world that can see the total extent of this faint emission.’