Nature of the mysterious radio halo 1.4 billion light-years from Earth is revealed

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(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers has been able to solve the mystery of a strange diffuse synchrotron source, which is located in a fairly large cluster of galaxies called Abell 523.

Its diameter is almost three million light years. Experts began to study the cluster, which is located at a distance of 1.4 billion light years from our planet.

For this, special powerful radio telescopes were used, which helped to determine exactly what features are present in the distribution of the radiation flux at several different frequencies.

When charged particles begin to move along curvilinear trajectories practically at the speed of light, this provokes the appearance of synchrotron radiation.

Many space objects have sufficiently strong magnetic fields that can bend the movement of various kinds of particles. The radio halo also acts as a source of synchrotron radiation.

They have weak electromagnetic fields. But until today, experts cannot tell how exactly the formation of such sources occurs.

During the study, an analysis was made of data obtained by observing the Abell 523 radio halo with the LOFAR radio interferometer.

The study was carried out at frequencies of 120-160 megahertz and 1-2 gigahertz. Due to this, scientists were able to understand exactly how the spectral index of the radio halo is distributed at different frequencies.

It was possible to find out that impact waves and turbulent processes play a very important role in the formation of such objects. They can appear in hot gas when small clusters coalesce.

Turbulence can create an initial population of high energy electrons. They, in turn, form the region where synchrotron radiation is observed.

This area is able to completely fill the entire central part of the cluster. At the same time, it was possible to obtain quite a lot of data that electrons begin to accelerate due to shock waves.

The latest study has shown that Abell 523’s radio halo will actually be much larger at 144 megahertz than scientists previously thought.

Also, the object has a very complex morphology, consisting of filamentous structures and incomprehensible areas in which weak radiation is present.


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