Giant dying radio galaxy discovered by Indian astronomers

The newly discovered galaxy is nine billion light years away.

By Sreejith Vallikunnu

Representational image

A team of Indian astronomers have made a stunning discovery at the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics as they identified an extremely rare giant radio galaxy, reportedly in its dying phase.

According to the researchers, the discovery of the galaxy named ‘J021659-044920’ was made by the astronomers using a Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), which has an array of radio telescopes at metre wavelengths, located near Pune.

It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, a part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai.

According to the team of astronomers, the newly discovered galaxy is nine billion light years away and is radiating powerful radio waves, even in its dying stage. The galaxy comes under the category of giant radio galaxies commonly called as ‘radio size’.

“Our work presents a case study of a rare example of a GRG (giant radio galaxy) caught in dying phase in the distant universe,” the researchers said.

Prathamesh Tamhane, a researcher of Elementary Particle Physics, Theoretical Physics, Cosmology in Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER-Pune), led the project under the supervision of Yogesh Wadadekar.

Radio galaxies and their cousins are active galaxies that are highly luminous at radio wavelengths due to the synchrotron process; the electromagnetic radiation emitted when charged particles are accelerated radially.

Even though it is common to find radio galaxies with less than a million lightyears, giant radio galaxies like the one discovered now, is rare and only a very few have been discovered till date.

The details regarding the findings are published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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