Astronomers may have solved the mystery of giant circles of radio waves that were first spotted in 2019 floating deep in space.
Team in university California San Diego found that individual radio circuits (ORCs) form from flowing winds generated by explosive events such as supernovas.
Astronomers have determined that when massive stars die and explode close to each other, the force pushes the gas surrounding them outward, creating rushing winds at speeds of more than 1,200 miles per second.
The tremendous force generated by the rushing wind creates the shells that form the circuits of radio waves, which can be more than 50,000 times the diameter of the Milky Way.
Astronomers may have solved the long-standing mystery about giant circles of radio waves that appear blurry as they float through the depths of space.
“These galaxies are really interesting,” said astrophysicist Alison Coyle. It occurs when two large galaxies collide.
“The fusion pushes all the gas into a very small region, causing an intense explosion of star formation.
“Massive stars burn up quickly, and when they die, they expel their gas in streaming winds.”
To unravel the mystery, the team recreated the galactic winds flowing It blows for 200 million years before it goes out.
When the wind stops, A forward shock pushed high-temperature gas out of the galaxy and created a radio ring.
The reverse shock then sent the flow of cold gas back into the galaxy.
A team from the University of California, San Diego has discovered that strange radio circuits (ORCs) are formed as a result of flowing winds generated by explosive events such as a supernova.
The simulation is designed to play out over a period of 750 million years, which the team said approximates the estimated age of ORCs observed by astronomers in the past.
Astronomers discovered radio wave circuits using the Australian Square Kilometer Array (ASKAP) in 2019, but were baffled by what they found.
It was such an unusual discovery that Cowell and her team set out to discover how and why it formed.
Before the ASKAP telescope, astronomers observed ORCs only through radio emissions but did not have access to any visual data.
This has led to multiple theories about the origins of the phenomenon, including planetary nebulae, when cosmic gas and dust are released from the outer layers of a dying star and… Black hole mergers.
The latter emits gravitational radiation when two black holes merge.
Both theories were discarded and replaced by the possibility that stellar galaxies created the ORCs.
Coyle and her team used optical and infrared imaging data to determine that the stars within the ORC 4 galaxy are six billion years old.
Alison Coyle and her team found that it was the force from the outward winds of exploding massive stars that created the ORCs
Astronomers used ASKAP to capture images of ORCs that had previously been visible only through radio emissions
“There was an explosion of star formation in this galaxy, but it ended about a billion years ago,” Cowell said.
“It turns out that the galaxies we were studying have high mass flow rates. They’re rare, but they do exist.
“I really think this points to ORCs arising from some sort of flowing galactic wind.”
ASKAP is the world’s fastest telescope, consisting of 36 antennas, each 12 cm in diameter, and was created to detect hundreds more galaxies than its predecessors and to understand how galaxies form and evolve, including how Earth’s galaxy evolves.
The telescope scans large parts of the sky in faint outlines, enabling astronomers to see ORCs extending across hundreds of kilometers – the equivalent of 3,260 light-years across.
“ORCs provide us with a way to ‘see’ winds through radio data and spectroscopy,” Coyle said.
This means they can determine how common flowing galactic winds are and how long the wind’s life cycle is, and will help astronomers learn more about the evolution of galaxies.
“Do all massive galaxies go through an ORC phase?” Do spiral galaxies become elliptical when they stop forming stars? Cowell asked, adding, “I think there is a lot we can learn about ORCs and learn from ORCs.”