Astronomers think they can finally explain these bizarre circular blobs of space

Humanity has reached a point of innovation where we can see into distant galaxies, but we can’t always explain what we’re actually seeing in the images.

But a 2019 mystery may have been solved thanks to researchers working on data obtained from South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope.

Ray Norris, a professor at Western Sydney University, and his colleagues were so amazed by “glowing rings” discovered in space that they weren’t sure what to call them – so they called them exactly what you are.

Strange radio circuits (or ORCs) are now thought of as an eggshell of radio waves that we can image against the backdrop of space.

They appear to have rings that oscillate around the sphere because the rims “hold more material along the line of sight, much like a soap bubble.”

About a billion light-years away, the ORCs must be huge for us to see them, even with fantastic telescope equipment.

Norris theorized The ORCs are about a million light-years across — quite a distance considering a light-year is 5,878,625,370,000 miles.

The ORCs have engulfed a central galaxy and begun to engulf other surrounding galaxies as their radio wave envelope has grown.

the Origin of these ORCs is still debated, but the energized magnetic field pictured above them tells us that some sort of explosion may have been a contributing factor.

Hot, fugitive gas from within the blast striking the quiescent, faint gas outside the galaxy could create a magnetic field like the one pictured above the ORC in question.

The cause of the explosion would have to be something generating enough energy to create a space object the size of the ORC.

Norris writes that “a merger of two supermassive black holes” would be sufficient, and is rare enough to explain the few instances of ORC observations.

An artist's rendering of "odd radio circles."
An artist’s rendering of “strange radio circles”.
YouTube/SciTech Daily

A second theory says the area experienced a “starburst,” where millions of stars suddenly formed from gas in the galaxy.

Note that all that is being observed actually happened hundreds of millions if not billions of years ago.

Because the ORCs are so far away, it takes a long time for the radio waves that make them observable for the meerkats to reach Earth.

The same theory applies to rays of light the moon and the sunwhich are visible to Earth with a delay of 1.3 seconds and 8 minutes, respectively.

This article originally appeared on The sun and is reproduced here with permission. Astronomers think they can finally explain these bizarre circular blobs of space


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