Astronomers have discovered a massive and mysterious object spanning more than a million light-years, dubbed the ORC. ORCs were first identified in 2019, and now researchers have released the highest resolution yet of the strange phenomenon, according to a digitaltrend report.
The image was captured by the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT radio telescope, and astronomers debate what could be the source of the massive circles.
The objects were detected using radio telescopes, but they appear to be invisible to optical, infrared and X-ray telescopes.
And the three leading theories as to why these objects exist, according to the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, are as follows: “They could be the remnants of a massive explosion at the center of their host galaxy, like the merger of two supermassive lions.
Holes, they can be powerful jets of energetic particles ejected from the galactic center or may be the result of a “termination shock” from a star-producing starburst in the galaxy. The objects are almost inexplicably massive, and most appear to have a galaxy at their center, supporting the idea that they can be formed by galactic processes.
However, the fact that it is only visible at the X-ray wavelength is very strange.
One of the authors, Ray Norris, said in a statement: “We know that ORCs are rings of faint radio emissions that surround a galaxy with a hyperactive black hole at its center, but we don’t yet know what causes them, or why they rarely occur.”
The many open questions about these objects provide fertile ground for further research, and the researchers plan to look at circuits with sensitive radio telescopes such as the upcoming Square Kilometer Array (SKA), an array of thousands of antennas scattered across Australia and South Africa.
Another author, Jordan Collier of the Interuniversity Institute for Data-Intensive Astronomy, said: ‘People often want to explain their observations and demonstrate that they are in line with the best of our knowledge, and for me it is even more exciting to discover something new that challenges our current understanding.
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