A team of astronomers located in South Africa has managed to capture images of an elusive X Galaxy. The feat was achieved with the help of the MeerKAT telescope, which allowed the researchers to track the phenomenon.
X Galaxy, or PKS 2014-55, is a twin-jet galaxy. Its jet shot out in opposite directions, a trait which is common, but the mechanics behind the phenomenon remain a mystery for now. The nickname comes from the fact that the radio jets are shaped in the form of an X, and within the images, it looks like a giant X made out of blue gas.
The fascinating jets are radio waves that can cover millions of light-years before they are brought back by the pressure exerted by powerful intergalactic gas. When the jets return, an amount of has sis pushed towards the lower arms, which are shorter and tend to follow the form of a boomerang.
X Galaxy Snapped By Astronomers
Some astronomers have tried to explain or track down the factors which lead to the formation of the x-shaped radio jets. One theory argues that the direction in which the black hole spins will change over time, and the radio jets will be pushed in new directions, with the shorter jets indicating the current direction.
Another theory envisions the existence of two massive black holes, each responsible for two radio jets. It has also been thought that the material which tends to fall back in the galaxy is pushed in a different direction, creating the other arms.
Previous studies of this type of galaxies lacked access to the high-quality images which were captured with the help of the powerful MeerKAT telescope, which was designed from the ground up to be the best in the world at what it can do. The images allowed astronomers to elaborate on a press release that was published recently.