Radio Wave ‘Art’ Observed in Galaxy Cluster Collision

The science of Astronomy goes far beyond what humans can see with our eyes.  The visible part of the spectrum has taught us so much, but when we look at all photons across the spectrum of light, we find exponentially more powerful methods for discovering the mysteries of the universe.  Radio waves, yes the same ones that bring you music in your car, are found throughout the universe in very interesting environments.

EM Spectrum

Radio waves often trace the most powerful objects in the universe, such as super-massive black holes, quasars, and other types of active galactic nuclei.  Humans see visible light as the colours of the rainbow, but what if we could see radio waves in the same way? What if we had eyes that could see in radio? For one, we would be able to see the transmissions from local radio stations to our car.  In the universe, it would look like this image of the colliding galaxy cluster region Abell 2256.

Credit: Owen et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF

Some of the features look like imperfections in the image, but are all real phenomena occurring in the galaxy cluster collision.  The origins of these features are still uncertain, but it is clear that with such high-energy interactions, we should expect the unexpected.

Abell 2256 is about as large in the sky as the full moon.  It is 800 Million light years distant and as much as 4 million light years across.  Astronomers have studied this collision for half a century and are still attempting to solve its mysteries.

One thought on “Radio Wave ‘Art’ Observed in Galaxy Cluster Collision

  1. Inside the top ten of the favourite content pieces,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.