Mysterious radio rings in the sky. Astronomers don t know what it is

Astronomers observing the sky in the radio range have found four distant rings with slightly brighter (radio) edges. None of these objects resemble any other known astronomical object.

Objects resembling distant islands in the shape of rings have been called peculiar radio circles (ORC) due to their shape and unusual features. Astronomers do not yet know how far they are from Earth, but according to them they may be associated with distant galaxies. All ORCs were discovered outside the Milky Way plane and have a diameter of about one minute arc in the sky (for comparison, the diameter of the full moon's disk is 31 minutes arc).

Radio rings in data from ASKAP

What are mysterious radio rings ?

In the latest article describing the discovery, astronomers offered several possible explanations, but none of them match all four ORCs. After eliminating the possibility that ORCs are supernovae, star-forming galaxies, planetary nebulae or the effect of gravitational lensing, astronomers came to the conclusion that this could be the result of radiogalactic activity or they may be the remains of shock waves emitted e.g. in collisions of galaxies.

Of course, they may point to a completely new phenomenon that none of us have yet studied - says Kristine Spekkens, an astronomer at the Royal Military College of Canada.

All four ORCs are clear in the radio range but cannot be seen in the visible, infrared and X-ray range. At the center of the two ORCs are visible galaxies, indicating that they may have been formed in these galaxies. The two ORCs are also very close together, which may in turn indicate that they may have a common source.

Astronomers spotted three of them creating radio sky maps as part of the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project. Researchers use ASKAP, an Australian network of 36 radio telescopes, to create maps. The fourth ORC was in the archival data collected using Giant MetreWave Radio Telescope in India. Thanks to it, astronomers were able to confirm that the objects actually exist, and are not just an anomaly caused by the instruments or software of the ASKAP network.

Astronomers convinced that they will soon learn the nature of the rings

Considering that only four such objects have been registered so far, astronomers are unable to learn more about their nature. Nevertheless, the EMU review is just beginning, so we can hope for more similar finds. The more we discover, the more we can tell about the entire class of objects.

Thanks to the ability to observe weak radio objects and a wide field of view, researchers will have a good chance of discovering many new objects. From the very beginning, scientists predicted that as part of the EMU project, they would discover about 70 million new radio objects - which would extend the current catalog containing 2.5 million radio sources. I must admit that the beginning is very good.

Mysterious radio rings in the sky. Astronomers don't know what it is


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