(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers have discovered a strange intergalactic ring that may be the first of its kind.
A large radio circle lurks between the Milky Way and a nearby galaxy, and its discoverers speculate that it could be the remnants of an unusual supernova.
The object, officially designated J0624-6948, was spotted by the ASKAP array of radio telescopes, and astronomers first thought it was another example of an outer space radio circle (ORC).
This newly discovered class of astronomical anomalies is a colossal circular stream of radio emission, the nature of which is still unknown.
But this new ring has a few features that are different from the known ORCs. Most strange radio circles tend to span entire galaxies, but the new object is in intergalactic space.
In addition, in the sky it appears to be more than three times as large as most ORCs. Its radio spectral index is also much flatter, and all this has led astronomers to conclude that it is a completely different type of object.
Scientists suggest that in fact it may be the remnant of a supernova. Such clouds of matter are ejected into space as a result of the death of a star, accompanied by a powerful explosion.
But this will be the first time such objects have been detected outside the galaxy, although they may have originally come from the Large Magellanic Cloud, a dwarf galaxy that orbits the Milky Way.
The location where the strange radio circle was discovered
“The most plausible explanation is that the object is the remnant of an intergalactic supernova that was on the outskirts of the Large Magellanic Cloud.
It most likely underwent a single degeneration of a Type Ia supernova, which involves the explosion of two stars orbiting each other, ”the scientists write.
“What we have potentially discovered is a unique supernova remnant that has expanded into a rarefied intergalactic medium, which we did not expect to find in such an object.”
If it is an intergalactic supernova remnant, the team estimates it is likely between 2,200 and 7,100 years old.
Other possible explanations include a superflare remnant from a nearby star in the Milky Way or an unusually large ORC. After all, only five ORCs have been described so far, so we don’t know much about them.
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