A mysterious alignment has been witnessed in a remote area of the universe. Sixty-four supermassive black holes have been observed to be spinning out radio jets from their centers, all pointing towards the same direction.
Black holes are well known to emit radio emissions. However, this is the first time their alignment is of such a great magnitude. This phenomenon implies that the force governing these black holes is much greater and older, hence the alignment has been linked to "primordial mass fluctuations" in the early universe.
"Since these black holes don't know about each other, or have any way of exchanging information or influencing each other directly over such vast scales, this spin alignment must have occurred during the formation of the galaxies in the early universe," said Professor Andrew Russ Taylor, joint UWC/UCT SKA Chair, Director of the recently launched Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, and principal author of the Monthly Notices study.
The astronomers have been puzzled over this alignment and have speculated a few theories that could have been responsible for triggering this large scale phenomenon.
Few of the speculated theories include cosmic strings – theoretical fault lines in the universe, exotic particles like axions or cosmic magnetic fields, or maybe something entirely different altogether, which is yet to be ascertained.
Experts said the recent observation of black hole alignment could provide evidence of the environmental influences that contributed to the formation and evolution of galaxies as well as the primordial fluctuations that brought about the structure of the universe.
This strange phenomenon was captured as a result of three years of deep radio imaging carried out by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) located in India. The alignment may hold clues about the early universe when the black holes had initially formed.
The study was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.