When we astronomers talk about finding something in a distant corner of the universe, it is usually a galaxy, a star, or some other celestial object. Not now. A team from South Africa has discovered an ultra-powerful radio-wave laser, a phenomenon known as a megamasar. More than five billion light-years away, it is the most distant megamasar ever seen.
Lasers have been a common technology on Earth for decades, but the “lasers” that the US Glowaki and his team saw were on a completely different scale from what we saw around our necks in the universe. The observation was made with the South African delightful name MeerKAT radio telescope. This marks the first megamass detection for this device. It is seen from afar Any To date, telescope researchers have dubbed Megamasar “Nakalkatha”, a Zulu word meaning “Big Boss.”
Such megamasars are a product of galaxy collisions. When two galaxies collide with each other, their respective gas envelopes can become super-dense and stimulate hydroxyl molecules, including one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom. They release that energy in the form of radio signals. A mesa is similar to a laser, but it is composed of radio frequencies. Normally, these frequencies would not be visible on MeerKAT, but the expansion of the universe has extended it to longer wavelengths that are within MeerKAT’s food range.
These radio-frequency beams are like signposts that could point astronomers towards galactic collisions. Many scientists believe that our own Milky Way galaxy will collide with Andromeda. When that happens, the event will probably create a megamass that will be visible if anyone looks at us billions of years into the future.
The MeerKAT Telescope is located in the Karu region of South Africa and contains 64 radio dishes. It started working in 2018. Nkalakatha detection came from one night observation only. The project is working on a 3,000-hour survey known as LADUMA (looking at the distant universe with the Meerkat array). The Megamasars are one of the many events the team could see in the future. It is just a small part of a planned world-wide radio observatory known as the Square Kilometer Array, with telescopes from South Africa and Australia. It will eventually feature thousands of dishes.