Astronomers spot 4 objects in deep space unlike anything seen before

Three of the objects were spotted using the Autralian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope while mapping the night sky in radio frequencies as part of a pilot investigation for a new project called the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU ) from July to November 2019.

By hindustantimes.com | Published by Anubha Rohatgi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi

UPDATE JUL 12, 2020 12:18 am IST

Astronomers have spotted four distant objects in deep space that they say do not look like any astronomical objects they have seen before.

According to the LiveScience website, the objects look like distant ring-shaped islands and have been named an “odd radio circle” or ORC. Scientists have yet to determine exactly how far away these objects are, but believe ORCs may be linked to distant galaxies.

Three of the objects were spotted using the Autralian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope while mapping the night sky in radio frequencies as part of a pilot investigation for a new project called the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU ) from July to November 2019.

The fourth ORC was found in archival data collected by the giant MetreWave radio telescope in India. This helped astronomers confirm that the objects were real, rather than an anomaly caused by issues with the ASKAP telescope or the way the data was analyzed, the article from the LiveScience website said.

“[The objects] may well indicate a new phenomenon that we haven’t really investigated yet, ”said Kristine Spekkens, an astronomer at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University, who was not involved in the new study, on the site Web LiveScience.

“It may also be an extension of a previously known object class that we were unable to explore,” he added.

Seeking explanations for what these ORCs really are, astronomers have ruled out supernovas, star-forming galaxies, planetary nebulae, among others. They believe the objects could be shock waves left behind by an extragalactic event or possibly activity from a radio galaxy.

But the EMU investigation is only just beginning and astronomers expect it to reveal more unusual objects.

The article, which is available on the arXiv preprint site, has been submitted for publication to the journal Nature Astronomy, where it is still under review.

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