Dancing Ghosts In Space Near Black Holes
Credit: Jayanne English/EMU/Dark Energy Survey

Astronomers from Australia have discovered electron clouds blooming and moving in space and it seems like two ghosts are dancing in the cosmos. Astronomers are hopeful to get new information about mysterious black holes and the very chaotic, complex environment between galaxies by studying these “dancing ghosts.”

Astronomer and professor at the School of Science at Western Sydney University, Ray Norris said in an article published in Cosmos Magazine that,

“After several weeks we were observing two radio galaxies about billion light-years away and in the center of each one there exists a big black hole which is squirting out jets of electrons that are bent into grotesque shapes by an intergalactic wind”.

Astronomers noted that those “dancing ghosts” are being produced by winds coming from two active black holes situated a billion light-years away. PKS 2130-538 is the name given by them and much more is still mysterious. Two radio galaxies and the ghosts are believed to be the reasons for their formation but interestingly no such type of previous observation has caught them with such eminence.

Ray Norris tells that when they first came across “dancing ghosts” they had no idea of what phenomenon it is but after working several days they figured it out.

“Discoveries always put out and raise some new questions and this one is no different. We still do not know from where the wind is coming? And what are the reasons that cause streams of radio emission? Probably it takes us much more observations and modeling before we understand any of these things”

”Dancing Ghosts” was discovered as a part of the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project which aims to study and conduct a counting of 70 million radio sources across the universe. Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) which is one of the most sensitive radio telescopes developed to dive into the radio universe is used to accomplish the EMU project.

And it is doing its work effectively. In 2020, the survey revealed the existence of Odd Radio Circles, or ORCs, which probably be the supermassive circles of radio emission a million light-years across, but still we have no clue what it is.

The first Odd Radio Circle
The first ‘Odd Radio Circle’. Credit: Jayanne English

For now, EMU collected a list of around 220,000 sources of various sorts which many never suspected before.
Most of the radio sources came from active supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. Because black holes eat matter and the material is spread around and outside of the event horizon along magnetic field lines which further explode away from the poles in the form of radio-loud jets.

Radio telescopes picked up the radio resources as they are the brightest in the sky and that’s how ASKAP succeeded in showing the new phenomenon named “Dancing Ghosts”. EMU survey is likely to be continued for years diving deep into the radio universe to solve the mysteries.

EMU project website is accessible easily and you can zoom in to explore ASKAP’s radio sky, maybe you accidentally come across a new thing.


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