Astronomers have discovered the largest radio galaxy ever, spanning at least 16 million light-years in space, new research shows.
Radio galaxy contain supermassive black holes at their cores. As matter falls into the black hole, it releases energy in the form of two radio jets from opposite sides from the galactic center, also known as the active galactic nucleus.
Using data from a network of low-frequency arrays (LOFAR) radio telescopes located across Europe, researchers have detected two massive plasma beams emanating from a seemingly ordinary supermassive mass. often. black hole at the center of the galaxy. Measuring at least 16 million light-years in length, these two jet streams span more than a hundred Milky Ways in diameter, representing the largest known structure of galactic origin, according to the statement.
Materials blown into space by these two jet streams include new building blocks star formation. Traveling at almost the speed of light, the material heats up and melts into a plasma, glowing as radio light that LOFAR can detect.
Astronomers using radio telescopes had previously been unable to detect Alcyoneus because of the relatively faint beams. The researchers reprocessed existing images of the galaxy, revealing subtle new patterns that alerted the team to massive galactic structure.
While radio jets have been detected in many galaxies, including Galaxy, researchers aren’t sure how Alcyoneus became so large. At first, they thought it might be due to a normally large black hole, an exorbitant amount of stardust, or intense jet streams. However, these features appear relatively normal compared to other radio galaxies, according to the statement.
Alcyoneus may offer new clues about the structure of our universe, also known as cosmic web, which is said to connect all galaxies. This complex network is composed of clustered galactic filaments, separated by giant voids.
The intergalactic medium between galaxies may play a role in the formation of the galaxy’s massive plasma plumes. The researchers therefore plan to further investigate Alcyoneus’s environment to see if there’s anything around it that could account for its unusual growth.
The findings have been accept publishing in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
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https://www.space.com/large-radio-galaxy-alcyoneus-discovery Astronomers discover massive radio galaxy 100 times larger than the Milky Way