In our world, gravity follows the exact rules, and the apple falls from the tree because of it. When we eat rice, our bodies release hormones that put us to sleep. Everything is in its proper place in nature. In other cases, though, it likes to toss a monkey wrench into the gears of scientists who dare to explore natural law.
This is what’s occurring with Abell 3266, a particularly cheeky galaxy cluster, which has astronomers and physicists pulling their hair out and sifting through their books in an attempt to discover an explanation for its unusual behavior. When discussing the galaxy clusters, let’s begin by looking at them in terms that everyone is familiar with: fossilized remains of animals and plants.
As a result of fossil evidence, we know that dinosaurs and other prehistoric flora lived long before we were born. Just as we can date these ancient fossils to find out how old they were, scientists utilize the same method for studying radio emissions from dark supermasive holes that are dying in space.
Astronomers use radio emission, a form of “invisible” radiation emitted by celestial objects, to figure out, among other things, how old they are. Studying Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation uncovers some of the most startling and well-kept secrets in the universe, such as the Big Bang’s genesis.
Plasma, a chaotic state of matter that develops when gas is heated to 10 million degrees Celsius, is a major component of a cluster. When radio waves are generated through this plasma, scientists identify known patterns to get insight into the cosmic environment.
The existence of these radio remnants crashing clusters and supermassive black holes gives us key answers to several popular problems. In order to cast a shadow, something opaque must be present. At 800 million light years away, Abell was already an anomaly since it met all the requirements but cast no cosmic shadow!
Until recently, the cluster was free of radioactive contamination. They discovered that certain elusive emissions defied what they had previously considered when they used the combined strength of more than three powerful satellite arrays to analyze it.
Shockwaves going through plasma from some massive cosmic event may have fueled radio emissions from one region of the cluster that formed a sound boom-like arc. However, radio experts were taken aback by its odd concave shape, which they had never observed before. It was given the moniker “mis-way remnant” because of its off-kilter position in relation to the cluster’s nucleus.
If this is due to the effects of shock waves, one would expect an arc-shaped bend at their outer edges, but instead, the researchers found that the arc was turned about 180 degrees. As a result, we don’t quite get what he’s saying.
According to Dr. Wernstrom, his team believes it is real and that picture processing is not to blame. Furthermore, the surprising brilliance of the remains meant that scientists had to go back to the drawing board to provide an explanation for the behavior of these radio fossils. Because of the discrepancy between what our models predict and what observations show, she surmised, “Maybe there’s some kind of novel physics going on.”
It’s not uncommon for scientists to shake their heads in wonder at the strange phenomena of colliding galaxies like those found in Abell 3266. Data from these conditions is impossible to obtain in a laboratory due to the abundance of plasma and dark matter activity.
There are several anomalies and unusual occurrences in Abell 3266 that aren’t found in other clusters, or haven’t been discovered yet in other clusters. In addition, it is proof of the increasing strength of radio telescopes and the thrilling prospect of studying the remainder of space. Dr. Wernstrom notes, “By looking at the radio, you observe a different kind of physics than you find at other wavelengths.” There will be a lot more of this in the future.