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Astronomers Discover Strange Ring-Shaped Objects in Deep Space

Astronomers Discover Strange Ring-Shaped Objects in Deep Space
Photo: Bärbel Koribalski / ASKAP

Various mysterious ring-shaped objects have been detected by Australian astronomers.

Massive, gigantic, and perfectly circular. So are the ring-shaped objects that have manifested in the distant universe. Although they’ve already been observed on various occasions, astronomers still do not have an explanation for the origin or nature of these recently cataloged entities.

Photo by: Alan Dyer/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The researchers in charge of the project were trying to find bright sources, which would serve to illuminate the presence of black holes or galaxies in radio waves. In this regard, Bärbel Koribalski, a galactic astronomer at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Western Sydney University in Australia, stressed that they are always looking for “what is strange, what is new and what looks like nothing else.”

The ring-shaped objects were spotted following the creation of a map of the night sky made with the help of the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a radio telescope project that uses 36 huge satellite dishes of 12 meters in diameter each.

It was a group from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, that first observed these entities. Although it had originally been recorded as a previously observed phenomenon, with a more cautious look they realized that this was not the case. To this day, no one knows where they come from, what they are or how long they have been there.

It was a group from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, that first observed these entities. Although it had originally been recorded as a previously observed phenomenon, with a more cautious look they realized that this was not the case. To this day, no one knows where they come from, what they are or how long they have been there.

11 Different Explanations To An Uncertain Nature

11 Different Explanations To An Uncertain Nature
Photo: Getty Images.

The ring-shaped objects, still unnamed officially, were detected by their wavelengths. They originally appeared empty, so it was proposed to refer to them as strange radio circles (ORCs).

In the article, recently published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the scientists offered at least 11 different reasonings about what these entities might be. Among them is the strange explosion of a supernova. However, the scientists narrowed down the possible explanations for ring-shaped objects to 3:

  1. Perhaps there are additional galaxies forming a cluster near the object and folding bright material into a ring-like structure.
  2. A central supermassive black hole in these galaxies is consuming gas and dust, producing huge cone-shaped jets of particles and energy.
  3. It could be that we’re looking down through the canyon of a long tube, creating a two-dimensional circular image around a central galaxy.

However, the researchers do not rule out one last possibility: that this is something completely new, whose nature has remained hidden from the human gaze until now. Harish Vedantham, an astronomer at the Dutch Institute of Radio Astronomy who was not associated with the work, concluded that “sometimes the universe simply presents strange and wonderful forms.”

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