UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Astronomers could not believe their eyes, recording the traces of an explosion that literally broke through a cluster of galaxies. Scientists have not observed anything like this before.
The achievement is described in a scientific article accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with her preprint.
The cluster of Ophiuchus galaxies is located 390 million light-years from Earth. Some time ago, researchers who studied it using X-ray telescopes discovered a peculiar tunnel in hot gas (the space between the galaxies was filled last).
Similar structures are formed when a supermassive black hole in the center of one of the galaxies shows a super powerful flash, and the shock wave literally sweeps the gas into the surrounding space.
However, in this case, the flash turned out to be incredibly powerful. In this case, 5 10 61 erg of energy should have been released . To radiate so much energy even in a billion years, it would take about a trillion stars like the Sun!
Therefore, experts rejected the version of the explosive origin of the “tunnel”. And, as it turned out, in vain.
The authors of a new study studied the same cluster of galaxies using radio telescopes at low frequencies (from 72 to 240 megahertz). They found the same void in a gas filled with radio waves.
“Radio data fits X-ray data like a glove,” compares co-author of the new study, Maxim Markevitch of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The authors compare the catastrophe with a volcanic eruption, which pierces a new crater in the volcano. True, in this case, the “crater” would fit 15 galaxies the size of the Milky Way.
The studied process, however, can hardly be called an explosion in the classical sense: it lasted hundreds of millions of years. But by the standards of clusters of galaxies, which are practically the same age as the universe (and she is 13.8 billion years old), this was a very fleeting phenomenon. By the way, the event overlaps the previous power record five times.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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