Observing galaxy PKS 2014-55 has led astronomers to discover how does X-shaped radio galaxy forms. They used MeerKat Telescope at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cape Town, South Africa.

Despite humans’ limit to observe the universe, the use of tools and techniques are making the limits to expand. Recently, PKS 2014-55 an X-shaped radio galaxy was observed and analyzed in terms of the radio wavelengths of light. However, when we observe it with a normal telescope, we only see an indistinct bright light. 

The galaxy has four jets of radio waves that go in opposite directions arising from the gigantic black hole at the center. These waves extend into the far intergalactic space and form an X shaped on the sky. It is located 800 million light-years from the earth in the constellation of Telescopium.

Each arm of the X is around 100 times longer than our milky way galaxy. These waves are the mixture of particles and magnetic fields, exploding out from the center. Also, these have been traveling for millions of lights years beyond the periphery of the galaxy.

There are several explanations to the X shape radio galaxy

  • There can be two black holes each having a pair of jets.
  • Direction of the spin of the black hole is changing over millions of years and due to this jets also change their directions.
  • The material going outwards start falling back into the galaxy.

The observations made favors the latter explanation of X shape radio galaxy. 

“MeerKAT is one of a new generation of instruments whose power solves old puzzles even as it finds new ones,” said study lead author Dr. William Cotton, an astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory.

A terrestrial dish from the MeerKAT Telescope Array. Image Courtesy: SKA South Africa

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