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Mysterious object 100 times larger than the Milky Way was discovered by astronomers in deep space

BY Luck, astronomers have discovered one of the largest structures in the known universe.

The object, a massive supermassive jet about 16 million light-years across, is more than 100 times wider than our own Milky Way galaxy.

Image of the radio galaxy Alcyoneus, 100 times larger than the Milky Way. The orange spots are bands of radio waves fired from either side of the object

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Image of the radio galaxy Alcyoneus, 100 times larger than the Milky Way. The orange spots are bands of radio waves fired from either side of the object

That means a typical spacecraft would take about 170 billion years to get from one end to the other.

The team behind the discovery, led by researchers in the Netherlands, named the object Alcyoneus in a paper shared online this week.

Those are what are known as “radio galaxies” – long, long flashes of matter spewing from the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.

They provide the building blocks from which stars and planets are ultimately formed and are therefore crucial to the galactic life cycle.

The study’s lead author, Martijn Oei, said that further analysis of Alcyoneus could eventually shed light on how these mysterious objects evolved.

“If you look up at the night sky with the naked eye, you’ll see ordinary galaxies and stars,” Oei, a PhD student in astronomy at Leiden University, told The Sun.

“But if you look with a radio telescope, you see very different aspects of the galaxies.

“Specifically, many of them have these violent outflows that look like beams shooting out from the centers of galaxies. Those structures are called radio galaxies.”

To better understand these cosmic beasts, Oei, along with astronomers at the universities of Oxford and Hertfordshire, set out to look for examples of the largest radio galaxies in the universe.

They reanalyzed images taken by the LOFAR Two-Meter Sky Survey, which uses telescopes around the globe to scan large regions of space.

Astronomers can often only detect light from stars, making it difficult to image things outside of galaxies.

However, the team used a technique that involved reducing the resolution of LOFAR images to capture the faint whispers of radio waves in the dim space around them.

“It’s as if you were standing in front of a painting and then squinting,” says Oei.

“The image will be slightly blurred, and that style brings out the large scale structures and removes the smaller details to give you the bigger picture.”

They didn’t expect to find Alcyoneus when they “blurred” an image of a galaxy about 3 billion light-years from Earth.

“What’s interesting is that we weren’t actually looking for this particular giant,” says Oei. “It was an accidental discovery.”

At 16 million light-years, Alcyoneus is the largest structure ever discovered created by a galaxy, Oei said.

It is also one of the largest objects ever found in the known universe.

Little is known about radio galaxies, and scientists previously thought that larger galaxies arose from larger black holes.

The new study makes this idea a reality, says Oei, because the black hole where Alcyoneus originated is nothing special.

Further study of the space giant will investigate whether radio galaxies evolve due to their environment, rather than the properties of their host galaxies.

The study was accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Radio galaxies are massive plumes of superheated matter ejected from posterior holes. Pictured is a multi-wavelength image of the Hercules A . Radio Galaxy

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Radio galaxies are massive plumes of superheated matter ejected from posterior holes. Pictured is a multi-wavelength image of the Hercules A . Radio GalaxyCredit: Nasa

In other news, a British woman was tell of her horror after scammers used photos of a “silver fox” politician to defraud her of £80,000.

Norfolk . County Council suing Apple about what it says is misinformation about iPhone sales.

The creators of a scary new horror game say the title is so disturbing that they have to censor it on PlayStation.

And, Apple announced update to AirTags after it was announced that coin-sized tracking devices are being used to track people.


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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8374925/mysterious-object-larger-milky-way-astronomers-deep-space/ Mysterious object 100 times larger than the Milky Way was discovered by astronomers in deep space

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