These radio circles were first discovered by the ASKAP radio telescope in 2020. Theories about what causes them have ranged from galactic shockwaves to wormholes. A new detailed image taken by the MeerKAT radio telescope provides researchers with more information about radio circles.
Researchers now have three leading theories about the nature of circles:
- They may be the remnants of a huge explosion at the center of the host galaxy, such as the merger of two supermassive black holes.
- They may be powerful particle jets erupting from the center of the galaxy.
- They may be the result of a shock wave from star formation.
To date, ORCs have only been discovered with radio telescopes, and searches with optical, infrared, or X-ray instruments have been fruitless. At the same time, radio circles are huge – about a million light-years across, which is 16 times larger than our own galaxy.
Scientists will have to study these mysterious objects more carefully with the help of more powerful telescopes.