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Scientists find new type of cosmic threads in Milky Way
A team of astrophysicists has discovered a new type of cosmic threads hidden in the centre of the Milky Way galaxy.
New Delhi: A team of astrophysicists has discovered a new type of cosmic threads hidden in the centre of the Milky Way galaxy.
In the early 1980s, a radio astronomy expert in Farhad Yusef-Zadeh at Northwestern University discovered gigantic, one-dimensional filaments dangling vertically near Sagittarius A*, our galaxy’s central supermassive black hole.Now, Yusef-Zadeh and his collaborators have discovered a new population of filaments -- but these threads are much shorter and lie horizontally or radially, spreading out like spokes on a wheel from the black hole.
Although the two populations of filaments share several similarities, Yusef-Zadeh assumes they have different origins.A
While the vertical filaments sweep through the galaxy, towering up to 150 light-years high, the horizontal filaments look more like the dots and dashes of Morse code, punctuating only one side of Sagittarius A*.
The findings are detailed in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “It was a surprise to suddenly find a new population of structures that seem to be pointing in the direction of the black hole,” said Yusef-Zadeh, Professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
“By studying them, we could learn more about the black hole’s spin and accretion disk orientation. It is satisfying when one finds order in the middle of a chaotic field of the nucleus of our galaxy,” he added.
To pinpoint the filaments, Yusef-Zadeh’s team used a technique to remove the background and smooth the noise from MeerKAT images in order to isolate the filaments from surrounding structures.