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Why Black Holes Are Mysteriously Aligning In A Distant Universe

Apr 13, 2016 04:20 AM EDT
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Researchers from the University of Cape Town and University of Western Cape have accidentally discovered a mysterious alignment of super massive black holes in a distant universe.

According to Science Daily, researchers have revealed that super massive black holes in a region in a distant universe are all spinning out radio jets in the same direction. Radio jets are streams of matter that are being emitted along the axis of rotation of compact objects, such as black holes.

Professor Andrew Russ Taylor, joint UWC/UCT SKA Chair, Director of the recently-launched Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, and principal author of the study, said in a statement that the only way for the jets streams produced by the super massive black holes at the centers of these galaxies to be aligned are if they are spinning at the same direction.

"Since these black holes don't know about each other, or have any way of exchanging information or influencing each other directly over such vast scales, this spin alignment must have occurred during the formation of the galaxies in the early universe," Taylor noted.

Before discovering the mysterious alignment, the initial plan of the researchers is to explore the faintest radio sources in the universe. For this, researchers used the South African MeerKAT radio telescope and the Square Kilometers Array (SKA). After the initial image was made, researchers discovered that there were regions within the large-scale structure where the spin axis of galaxies are lined up.

Their findings, published in the journal Royal Astronomical Society, were also made possible by the three-year deep radio imaging survey of the radio waves coming from a region called ELAIS-N1 using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India.

"GMRT is one of the largest and most sensitive radio telescope arrays in the world," Professor Taylor noted. "But we really need MeerKAT to make the very sensitive maps, over a very large area and with great detail, that will be necessary to differentiate between possible explanations."

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