STRANGE ghostly circles spotted in space are baffling astronomers as they try to work out what they could be.
Scientist Anna Kapinska initially labelled one as “WTF?” after spotting the cosmic ring while browsing through radio astronomical data.
According to a report in The Conversation, Kapinska’s colleague found another of the spooky shapes a few days later.
The researchers had been studying new photos from the the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project.
They were taken by the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope.
The telescope is very powerful and sensitive to faint objects like the never-before-seen circles.
These dishes are used by the new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope[/caption]
More mysterious blobs have been spotted since the initial two and they’re now referred to as ORCs or “odd radio circles”
A software error of the telescope was ruled out after other radio telescopes confirmed the circles existed.
Supernova remnants have also been ruled out as a possible explanation.
A research paper called Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia runs through all the possibilities and concludes that the circles aren’t anything we currently know about.
They might be shockwaves from a huge explosion in a distant galaxy.
Two Russian scientists have even suggested that they could be the “throats” of wormholes.
In theory, wormholes could act like a magical gateway easily connecting two points in space and time with each other.
In science fiction, they’re often depicted as gateways that can let people step into another time or galaxy.
It’s a bit of a confusing concept but a wormhole is essentially a theoretical method of folding space and time so two places in space can be connected together.
Fans of the movie Interstellar will be familiar with this concept.
It shows how astronauts on a spacecraft could travel through a wormhole with only a small amount of time passing for them but, for people back on Earth, hundreds or even thousands of years could have passed.
It’s like drawing a line between two dots on a piece of paper, folding the paper over so the dots are touching and then forcing your pen through the page.
The hole created represents the wormhole.
Einstein theorised that space time can be tangled up so tightly that two points can share the same physical location.
Then all you need is a short wormhole between the two for instantaneous travel.
For now, the ghostly circles will need a lot more research before anyone can be more certain about what they are.
Eight interesting Einstein facts
Here's what you need to know about the famous genius…
- Albert Einstein was born in Germany in 1879 to parents who were concerned because his head was large and misshapen but within a few weeks it had returned to a standard size
- He did not speak until the age of four and he only spoke if he wanted to complain about something until the age of nine
- Einstein had a secret daughter out of wedlock with his first wife because they were too poor to marry but what happened to this child is still unknown
- The physisct won the 1921 Noble Prize for for his services to theoretical physics
- He signed away all his Noble Prize money in a divorce settlement
- Einstein was asked to be the President of Israel but, at the age of 73, declined because he thought he was too old
- Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76
- After his death, pathologist Thomas Harvey went against Einstein’s wishes for a full cremation and kept his brain which he then chopped into pieces for research purposes
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What do you think of the ‘ghostly circles’? Let us know in the comments…
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