New ‘physics-defying’ radio bursts in space leave astronomers stunned

New 'physics-defying' radio bursts in space leave astronomers stunned

Scientists have spotted a series of large, low-frequency objects emitting radio waves some 800 million light-years away that they say appear to “defy” the laws of physics.

Objects emitting radio waves include “a fossil radio emission, a radio relic and a radio halo” within the Abell 3266 galaxy cluster, according to the study, published Monday in the journal. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The “detectable to detect” objects were discovered by applying a complicated algorithm to images taken by radio and X-ray telescopes, said researchers, including those from the University of Western Australia.

“They challenge existing theories about both the origins of these objects and their characteristics,” the scientists wrote in the conversationdescribing the discovery.

When galaxy clusters collide with each other, large amounts of energy are thrown into ionized gas or plasma, generating radio-wavelength emissions in a variety of shapes and sizes, the scientists said.

One such example is the radio relics, which are said to be arc-shaped and found towards the outskirts of a cluster.

These are powered by shock waves traveling through the plasma, which astronomers say cause a jump in density or pressure and energize the particles.

Radio halos are irregular sources found towards the center of a galaxy cluster, fueled by the turbulence of hot plasma.

Both halos and relics are known to be generated by collisions between galaxy clusters, but many of their details remain a mystery, researchers explain in the conversation

Fossil radio sources, on the other hand, are the leftover radiation from the death of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy.

In the study, the researchers analyzed the radio relic Abell 3266, which they said was unlike any radio object scientists had seen before.

They discovered that it had a very unusual concave shape, which earned it the nickname “the relic of the wrong path”.

“Overall, our data shatters our understanding of how relics are generated, and we are still working to decipher the complex physics behind these radio objects,” the scientists wrote.

“Our best physical models simply don’t fit the data. This reveals gaps in our understanding of how these sources evolve, gaps we are working to fill,” they said.

While the new study has shed more light on these mysterious cosmic entities, the researchers said the findings also raise more questions.

“Further work is required to fully unpack the history of Abell 3266 and its constituent radio galaxies, and answers to a number of questions remain elusive,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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