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Vast ‘Radio Bridge’ Linking Two Merging Galaxy Clusters Discovered by Astronomers


Sputnik International



The research team noted that so far, “only two giant intra-cluster radio bridges have been detected”.

A peculiar phenomenon has been discovered by astronomers in the depths of space, amid the merger of two galaxy clusters, Science Alert reports.

According to the media outlet, the phenomenon in question is a “low-frequency radio ‘bridge'” that spans a distance of about 6.5 million light years between the two clusters and serves as “evidence of a magnetic field connecting them in the early stage of the merging process”.

“We confirm the presence of a giant bridge of radio emission connecting the two systems that was reported only tentatively in our earlier work”, a team of astrophysicists led by Andrea Botteon of Leiden Observatory wrote in their new study. “This is the second large-scale radio bridge observed to date in a cluster pair. The bridge is clearly visible in the LOFAR image at 144 MHz and tentatively detected at 53 MHz.”

Located about 3 billion light years away, the clusters are located in a group called Abel 1758, with a total of four clusters “involved in the impending smash-up” as two pairs of them are “coming together”.

As Botteon’s team points out, “only two giant intra-cluster radio bridges have been detected to date”.

“These are among the most giant structures observed in the Universe so far, and their origin is likely related to the turbulence (and shocks) generated in the intra-cluster medium during the initial stage of the merger, which boosted both the radio and X-ray emissions between the clusters”, they note.

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