Mysterious ‘Odd Radio Circles’ Seen in Space
The mysteries of space are offering up a new phenomenon to the list … astronomers have documented something called ‘odd radio circles’ … and there’s lots of head-scratching going on.
These ORCs were first discovered by astronomers in 2020, using the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope … operated by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.
Amazing animation of Odd Radio Circles (ORCs) via SARAO pic.twitter.com/8FMmMk4loG
— Kelly Kizer Whitt (@Astronomommy) March 22, 2022
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Org believes something like this takes a billion years to end up at its max size, and stretches about 16 times bigger than the Milky Way. It’s already expanded past multiple galaxies.
The South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT telescope was able to get an even better shot.
Researchers have a few theories … it’s either the aftermath of an explosion at the center of the galaxy, jets that push out energetic particles, or the result of a starburst shock wave, caused by the creation of new stars.
Ray Norris, a professor at the Western Sydney University and CSIRO, says “We know ORCs are rings of faint radio emissions surrounding a galaxy with a highly active black hole at its center, but we don’t yet know what causes them, or why they are so rare.”
So far, only 5 odd radio circles have been spotted, all by telescopes that observe through radio wavelengths. Visible light, infrared and X-ray telescopes have yet to document the ORCs.