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It wasn’t never releaved a cosmic phenomenon like this. It is a “radio link”, a magnetic field that emits radio waves between two galaxy clusters ten million of light years far away from each other and aimed, as the time will go by, to collide.
The phenomenon is impossible under the scientifical point of view and it might help to answer to many questions about the dark matter, that invisible and mysterious matter that covers about a quarter of the universe.
The two galaxy clusters and the cosmic link
They are the two galaxy clusters Abell 0399 and Abell 0401, about a billion of light years far away from the Earth and divided by a vacuum of space of about ten million of light years.
Obviusly it’s not really a vacuum of space, because we know that nothing is really empthy. Everything of invisible and inexplicable is filled by matter, the one that we know and the one that we don’t know.
Between them arise a magnetic field that emits radio waves, a link that like an aurora slashes the dark space.
“It’s like a cosmic Aurora. The space between the two clusters is filled by a flash in the radio waves that reveals the presence of a huge magnetic field, enlightened by a population of high energy electrons, that move at speeds close to the light ones. It is a low magnetic field, about a million of times lower than the terrestrial one.”, explains Federica Covoni, coordinator of the research’s group of the National Institute of Astrophysics that described the phenomenon to the magazine Science.
The discovery of the radio link
To “see” the cosmic radio link took 25.000 antennas spreaded into 51 stations in Holland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden and United Kingdom, that together make the european radiotelescope Lofar (LOw Frequency ARray).
To the radiotelescope Lofar will be soon added the 52nd station, the italian one of the radiotelescope of Medicina, Bologna.
“The radiotelescope Lofar saw a low and wide radio emission between the two galaxy clusters. Understand the nature of this source is a real challange, because the electrons are able to cover a piece of space lower than the source’s extension. It might exist, so, a system that gives them the acceleration, that works along the whole strand between the two galaxy clusters”, went on to explain Covoni.
An unprecedented phenomenon
Like said it is the first time that this kind of phenomenon has been observed. The scientists didn’t know before of it that the galaxies were able to “communicate” between them through radio links.
Therefore, like we said, this phenomenon is beyond our knowledge of the behaviour of the matter and it opens, so, solutions for the understanding of the functioning of the dark matter.
The question to which the researchers are trying to give an answer is how do the electrons have the energy needed to move into a such rarified environmment like the one of the vacuum of space between two galaxy clusters?
The answer that they gave for the moment is that “those electrons are, in reality the product of the decay of the particles of which the dark matter is made. The backbone of the web that bridles the cosmos”.
That “web” about which the scientists speak keeps the whole universe together, by going through the dark matter to reach the known one of planets, stars and galaxies. The mysterious vacuum of space that for years we admire with suspicious and that today lashes the dark with a cosmic link.
All of it it’s still a theory, obviusly. But to try to better understand this radio link a second radiotelescope will soon arrive to help the scientists, actually a web of radiotelescopes Ska (Square Kilometre Array).
Understand the nature of the phenomenon will be a challenge for the researchers but it might finally start to answer to the many questions without answer about the dark matter.
This post is also available in: Italiano