Colliding galaxy clusters are events which cause ripples in the fabric of both space and time. Supermassive black holes are also epoch-making events. So when all the three are linked together, what will be the consequence of such a union? Astronomers after combining the visual and telescope data examined a supermassive black hole alongside two colliding galaxy clusters. The event led to the discovery of one of the largest cosmic particle accelerator.
Peering through the Chandra X-ray Observatory, scientists were able to capture an image of two colliding Galaxy clusters, Abell 3411 and Abell 3412. Alongside this event, astronomer used other telescopes to see the results of its merger with a gigantic black hole. What they discovered was truly amazing; the biggest cosmic particle accelerator in the universe.
The colliding galaxy clusters are gargantuan and a quadrillion times larger than the mass of the Sun. These galaxy clusters are also very old and are about two billion light years away from Earth. Colliding galaxy is commonly seen across the cosmos. However, this time astronomers were able to see all three major events linked together in the same system
The optical telescopes were able to detect one super massive spinning black hole which produced a gargantuan and tightly wound magnetic funnel in one of the galaxy clusters. The funnel sucked some of the gas from the black hole and produced an energetic, fast moving jet. The jet was again hit by the shock wave produced by the colliding galaxy cluster. The process can be imagined as a rocket moving in low earth orbit being shot out of the solar system by another rocket.
The particles which are hit by the second shock waves have been identified as one of the most energetic particles in existence in the Universe. The shock waves produced by the colliding galaxy clusters travel through the clusters for millions of years, and the doubly accelerated particles create giant whirls of Radio emissions which have been detected by the India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune. The discovery also solves the mystery about the giant whirls of Radio waves which have been associated with the two colliding galaxy clusters – the Abell 3411 and 3412.