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Astronomers discover powerful cosmic double whammy

The findings were made by combining the data such as radio, X-ray and optical observations from India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes.

Jan 9, 2017 15:00 IST
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An international team of astronomers have recently discovered two of the most powerful phenomena in the Universe- a supermassive black hole and the collision of giant galaxy clusters. These two phenomena have combined to create a stupendous cosmic particle accelerator.

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The findings were published in the journal Nature Astronomy on 4 January 2017. Moreover, the findings of the research were also presented at the 229th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The findings were made by combining the data such as radio, X-ray and optical observations from India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes.

Findings

• Researchers found out what happens when matter ejected by a giant black hole is cleared up in the merger of two enormous galaxy clusters.
• This cosmic double whammy was found in a pair of colliding galaxy clusters called Abell 3411 and Abell 3412 which are located about two billion light years from Earth.
• These two clusters are very massive as each weighs about a quadrillion times the mass of the Sun.
• Moreover, the optical data from the Isaac Newton Telescope in La Palma and Keck Observatory and Japan's Subaru telescope detected the galaxies in each cluster.
• The comet-shaped appearance was produced by hot gas from one cluster ploughing through the hot gas of the other cluster.

About India's Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT)

• The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) was set up by Pune based National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA).
• It was designed for investigating a variety of radio astrophysical problems, ranging from nearby Solar system to the edge of the universe.
• This telescope is used by the astronomers from all over the world to observe various different astronomical objects such as galaxies, pulsars, supernovae, HII regions, Sun and the solar winds.

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