A billion years ago, there was a huge collision of two clusters of galaxies.
The structures are so large that they could easily cover the 100,000 light-year diameter of the Milky Way.
The most detailed study of radio structures has been done using the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa.
astronomer Francesco de Gasperin of the University of Hamburg in Germany and the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy says that the structures are full of surprises.
The shock waves act as giant particle accelerators that accelerate electrons to speeds close to the speed of light. The radio waves we see are caused by fast electrons crossing a magnetic field.
The shocks are threaded by an intricate pattern of bright filaments that trace the location of giant magnetic field lines and the regions where electrons are accelerated.
The main shock has magnetic fields. Francesco de Gasperin is part of the SARAO.
The largest structures in the Universe are bound together by gravity. They can be very large, containing hundreds or thousands of individual galaxies. Galaxies and galaxy clusters travel along the web to form larger clusters.
These epic events happen at high speeds, generating cluster-scale shock waves that travel through space.
Abell 3667 is still coming together. The shock waves are travelling at a rate of 1,500 kilometers per second.
The shocks that are associated with cluster mergers are known as radio relics, and they can be used to probe the properties of the intergalactic space within the cluster.
It is an excellent target for probes because it is close to us and is quite massive.
There are two radio relics of Abell 3667. Francesco de Gasperin is part of the SARAO.
Astronomers were able to look at the cluster with one of the most sensitive radio telescopes in the world because it is in the southern sky. The Square Kilometre Array is currently being developed across Australia and South Africa to provide an unprecedented radio eye on the sky.
We can find what we can find now, not just for the SKA, but for the future as well.
The researchers wrote in their study that their observations revealed the complexity of the interplay between thermal and non-thermal components in the most active regions of a merging cluster.
Both the intricate internal structure of radio relics and the direct detection of magnetic draping around the merging bullet are powerful examples of the non-trivial magnetic properties of the intercluster medium. The study of these complex phenomena will be transformational thanks to the sensitivity of MeerKAT.
The research has been published.