Skip to content

Radio signals unveil secrets of massive galaxies: study finds

Monash University 2 mins read
Monash astronomers have found radio waves from the most massive of galaxies using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). nCredit: CSIRO nSource:

Black holes - the cosmic behemoths known for powering some of the brightest radio wave sources in the Universe - were the focal point of a study led by Associate Professor Michael Brown, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at Monash University.

The researchers delved into the mysteries of radio waves emitted by the most massive black holes using the cutting-edge Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

In their pursuit to answer the question of whether radio waves are consistently emitted by the most massive black holes, the astronomers measured radio waves from the largest galaxies in the nearby Universe. The comprehensive survey  leveraged the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (RACS).

Associate Professor Brown said ASKAP was capable of surveying vast swathes of the sky and was more sensitive than previous comparable radio survey.

While acknowledging that the formation of new stars in galaxies can also produce radio waves, the research team focused on galaxies with minimal or no star formation. Of the 587 nearby galaxies scrutinized, all 40 of the largest galaxies examined were found to emit radio waves.

"While it's possible there's some low-level star formation hidden in these galaxies, black holes seem the most likely cause for what we are seeing,” Associate Professor Brown said.

The study also revealed variations in radio wave emission among the very biggest galaxies, with some proving to be significantly more powerful than others. For instance, galaxy ESO 137-G 6 exhibited radio brightness approximately 10,000 times greater than that of galaxy NGC 6876. 

Work on this study began under the challenges of Melbourne’s COVID lockdowns, with undergraduate student Teagan Clarke undertaking preliminary work as part of Monash’s physics and astronomy research project unit.

"We've been able to really dig into this new data to start to uncover the differences in how these galaxies are shining in radio waves,” Teagan said. 

“This could tell us about their central black holes and how they power these massive galaxies." 

“Why different galaxies emit far more radio waves than others is a bit of a puzzle,” Associate Professor Brown said.

"However, we do see that galaxies that are powerful sources of radio waves appear to rotate slower than comparable galaxies that are weak sources of radio waves. Getting to the bottom of this is going to be challenging work for myself and my students."

The study, titled Radio continuum from the most massive early-type galaxies detected with ASKAP RACS has been accepted for publication in the publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

Media enquiries:

Monash University

Silvia Dropulich

Marketing, Media & Communications Manager, Monash Science

T: +61 3 9902 4513 M: +61 435 138 743



More from this category

  • Science
  • 18/06/2024
  • 22:08
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited

Takeda Presents Long-Term Data from Phase 3 ADVANCE-CIDP 3 Clinical Trial of HYQVIA® in Patients with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) at PNS Annual Meeting

Favorable Findings fromthe Longest Public Clinical Study in CIDP Support HYQVIA as an Effective Long-Term Treatment Option for Maintaining Stable Disease Course in CIDP…

  • Contains:
  • Medical Health Aged Care, Science
  • 18/06/2024
  • 12:30

WEHI spinout company set to revolutionise homegrown cancer treatments

Australia has cemented its role in becoming a major player in the next-generation of medicines with the launch of Ternarx – a globally competitive biotechnology company dedicated to finding new treatments for hard to treat cancers. The WEHI spinout is the first of its kind in Australia dedicated to developing targeted protein degrader medicines and technology, a powerful new tool for destroying disease-causing proteins that cannot be targeted by conventional drugs. Ternarx, which is backed by $15 million in funding from the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative and by support from WEHI, has been…

  • Contains:
  • Science
  • 18/06/2024
  • 02:37
Nexeo Plastics

GPD Companies, Inc. Names Kurt Schuering as President and Chief Executive Officer

Paul Tayler to Retire and Remain on Board of DirectorsTHE WOODLANDS, TX / ACCESSWIRE / June 17, 2024 / GPD Companies, Inc. ("GPD"), an affiliate of One Rock Capital Partners, LLC ("One Rock"), today announced the appointment of Kurt Schuering as President and CEO, effective June 24, 2024. Paul Tayler will retire from his role as President and CEO and remain on GPD's Board of Directors. Schuering brings nearly 30 years of experience in the plastics industry and a proven track record of success, making him the ideal candidate to lead GPD into its next phase of growth and innovation.…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.