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Mysterious Alignment of Black Holes Discovered by Astronomers

Enormous black holes somewhere in the distant universe are emitting unidirectional radio jets because of mass fluctuations in the early universe. The paper is published in the Royal Astronomical Society.

Picture posted by Stephen Hawking on his Facebook.

Picture posted by Stephen Hawking on his Facebook.

It all started with the identification of an alignment of jets of galaxies over a large area in space. The original aim was to look for radio sources in the universe with the world’s best telescopes, South African MeerKAT radio telescope and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

That was how researchers from the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape in South Africa made the discovery using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) which was used to make a radio imaging survey of radio waves originating from a place called ELAIS-N1. They found the alignment in the first image taken.

According to the researchers, the jets come from super-huge black holes that are located at the centre of the galaxies. These black holes must be spinning in the same direction for this alignment to be produced, explains study lead author Andrew Russ Taylor.

Taylor and his team have also put forward a theory explaining the time at which the alignment happened: the fact that the black holes do not apparently have any way to interact with each to exchange information or to affect each other suggests that the alignment must have been set into place when the galaxies formed in the early universe.

Previous research had indicated that the uniformity of galaxies was also marked by deviations in their orientation. But, this is the first time jets have been used to demonstrate alignment of galaxies. This new finding can help understand the orientation and evolution of galaxies as well as the movements in the fluctuations of primordial matter that accounted for the structure of the universe. We might thus learn more of whether the large-scale environmental factors were cosmic magnetic fields or cosmic strings and similar possible causes.

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