Is there a recent update on the mysterious M82 radio source reported in 2010?

Is there a recent update on the mysterious M82 radio source reported in 2010?

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The Wikipedia page on the "Cigar Galaxy" (M82) has the following summary about an "unknown object":

In April 2010, radio astronomers working at the Jodrell Bank Observatory of the University of Manchester in the UK reported an object in M82 that had started sending out radio waves, and whose emission did not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before.

A subsequent article in New Scientist dated 13 December 2010 offers the following update:

The object is still a puzzle, says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow. “It was still there the last time we looked, so its lifetime is now well over a year,” he says. “We are continuing to monitor this object.”

I can find a number of other references to this unknown object, but nothing more recent than 2010. The articles suggest it could perhaps be a new type of microquasar, since it shares some similarities; however, it doesn't have the high X-ray output that known microquasars exhibit.

Has the mystery been solved, or is this still an area of active research?

The SIMBAD page for the source in question: EQ J095552.5+694045.4

From the list of references, the most relevant ones to this question appear to be as follows:

  • Joseph et al. (2011) suggest that the object could be a microquasar similar to SS 433, which has a high radio to X-ray luminosity ratio.
  • Gendre et al. (2013) argue against a supernova interpretation for the source:

    Muxlow et al. (2010) suggested that this object might either be due to accretion around a massive collapsed object or be a faint and unusual supernova (Joseph, Maccarone & Fender 2010). In the latter case, we would expect the flux density to steadily decrease over time, as the source would be too young to have reached the remnant phase. However, in the observations presented here, it shows a flux density at 5 GHz of ∼0.90 mJy, which does not seem to vary significantly over the period 2009 May-2010. The supernova hypothesis is thus unlikely.

  • Mattila et al. (2013) state that the nature of the source is still unclear but they favour the microquasar interpretation:

    The nature of the 43.78+59.3 transient remains elusive, and on the basis of the limited data available, we regard an extremely bright extragalactic microquasar as the most plausible scenario, perhaps from a high-mass X-ray binary such as LS 5039 (Clark et al. 2001), but with a high ratio of radio to X-ray flux. A bright extragalactic microquasar was proposed as the most likely explanation by Muxlow et al. (2010) and Joseph et al. (2011). We concur with that conclusion although it would mean that the NIR luminosity is a factor of about 30 higher than Galactic microquasars.

  • Varenius et al. (2015) note that the source was not detected with LOFAR.

So from these, the nature of the source hasn't yet been conclusively shown, though the most plausible scenario is that it is a somewhat extreme example of a microquasar.

Mysterious New Object Discovered in Space

A strange and mysterious newobject in space may the brightest and long-lasting "micro-quasar"seen thus far, a miniature version of the brightest objects in the universe.

Theobject suddenly began pumping out radio waves last year in the relativelynearby galaxy M82, some 10 million light-years away. Its discovery wasannounced Tuesday.

"The new object, whichappeared in May 2009, has left us scratching our heads — we've never seenanything quite like this before," said researcher Tom Muxlow, a radioastronomer at the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory inEngland.

M82 is a "starburstgalaxy," one that churns out new stars at a prodigious rate. Most ofthese stars die in huge explosions, with supernovas occurring roughly every 20to 30 years in M82. However, the supernovas the researchers expect to seein that galaxy brighten at radio wavelengths over several weeks and then subsidein later months.

In comparison, the mystery objectturned on very rapidly within a few days and has shown no sign of dying down,even after nearly a year. "It's actually even brightened slightly,"Muxlow explained.

Quasars big and small

Quasarsare found in the center of galaxies and contain supermassive black holes.They are no more than a light year or two across but thousands of timesbrighter than our entire galaxy, which allows them to be seen more than 10billion light years away. Their energy is thought to emerge from matterspiraling at high speeds into the super-massive black holes theoretically atthe centers of most major galaxies.

However, this newfound object seemsto lie roughly 100 light years from M82's heart ? far enough away to make itunlikely it is linked with that galaxy's core.

Micro-quasars, liketheir larger counterparts, likely involve matter spiraling into black holes.

However, the object in M82 isthree to 10 times brighter than any micro-quasar seen until now, and hasoutlasted any micro-quasar seen thus far, which generally peak in brightnessafter a few days or weeks.

"We think a massive blackhole must be involved, but we don't really understand how it's gettingfueled," Muxlow said.

To learn more about this enigma,"we have just started processing data from an array of 20 radio telescopesacross the Earth taken for the central nuclear region of M82," Muxlowexplained. "These images will allow us to examine the structure of the newradio source in detail. However, processing such huge datasets takessignificant amounts of computing effort and painstaking work. Only then will webe able to see if it is some rare form of micro-quasar. Watch this space!"

Such bright, enduringmicro-quasars might exist in our galaxy as well. "We might expect to seeone maybe once every 100 years," Muxlow conjectured.

Muxlow will detail the discoveryon April 14 at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society inGlasgow, Scotland. A paper on the discovery has accepted by the Monthly Notices ofthe Royal Astronomical Society Letters.

Title: High-resolution, multifrequency radio observations of M82

A supersynthesis radio map of the 8085 MHz emission in M82 is presented. The radio structure is complex, and is dominated by a bright unresolved source which is unpolarized (<0.7%), becomes optically thick at $nu$approx. =650 MHz, and emits 65 percent of its 1666 MHz flux from within a region <1.2 pc in diameter. Nine other discrete radio components near the M82 nucleus have been isolated, and no other radio sources with surface brightness >5 K exist in the galaxy but outside the main radio source. An upper limit of 5 mJy can be set to any 8085 MHz radio emission from remnants, the brightest of which (source 41.9+58) is very recent (approximately-less-than150 years) and has brightness and size limits which are consistent with the $Sigma$-D relationship for known supernova remnants. The absence of a detectable linear polarization on all angular scales approximately-greater-than1'' suggests that the magnetic field in the M82 nucleus is highly tangled on all size scales down to approximately-less- than20 pc. (AIP)

9 Tabby&rsquos Star

In 2011, scientists studying data captured by NASA&rsquos Kepler spacecraft discovered that a star named KIC 8462852 frequently dimmed before brightening up again. The star is also known as Boyajian&rsquos star or Tabby&rsquos star.

Scientists proposed several causes for this bizarre behavior. Some suggested that the dimming was caused by a group of comets orbiting the star or some other unconfirmed materials in our solar system. Others think that it is caused by the dust around a black hole between Tabby&rsquos star and Earth.

One group of astronomers believed that this effect was generated by a megastructure built by some intelligent life. They think that the star dimmed when the orbiting megastructure passed between the star and the Kepler space telescope. This suggestion generated the most curiosity, causing other scientists to try to determine the real cause of the dimming event.

Dozens of telescopes observed the star when it dimmed again in May 2017. Scientists soon discovered that this was not caused by a megastructure because such an object would block all colors of the star&rsquos light from reaching the telescopes rather than simply dimming it. Scientists concluded that the dimming effect happened due to space dust orbiting the star.

However, they could not decide on the origin of the dust or confirm whether it is really dust. It also seems like the dust is being blown away from the star. This is why some scientists think that an undiscovered celestial body is creating more dust to orbit the star.

In 2016, Brian Metzger of Columbia University suggested that the dust was released from a planet or moon destroyed after straying too close to Tabby&rsquos star. [2]

A subatomic puzzle

So something could be producing these extremely exotic neutrinos inside the Fermi Bubbles. Or not &mdash it could just be a coincidence, and the neutrinos are really coming from some distant part of the universe behind the Bubbles.

What's more, somehow the cosmic rays are producing all the gamma rays, though we're not exactly sure how. Perhaps we might get lucky: maybe there's a single set of interactions inside the Bubbles that produces both gamma rays and the right kind of neutrinos that can be detected by IceCube. That would be a big step up in explaining the physics of the Bubbles themselves, and give us a huge clue as to their origins.

Recently, a team of researchers pored through the available data, even adding results from the newly operational High Altitude Water Cherenkov detector (a super-awesome ground-based gamma ray telescope), and combined that information with various theoretical models for the Bubbles, searching for just the right combo.

In one possible scenario, protons inside the Bubbles occasionally slam into each other and produce pions, which are exotic particles that quickly decay into gamma rays. In another one, the flood of high-energy electrons in the Bubbles interacts with the ever-present radiation of the cosmic microwave background, boosting some lucky photons into the gamma regime. In a third, shock waves at the outer edges of the Bubbles use magnetic fields to drive local but lethargic particles to high velocities, which then begin emitting cosmic rays.

But try as they might, the authors of this study couldn't find any of the scenarios (or any combination of these scenarios) to fit all the data. In short, we still don't know what drives the gamma ray emission from the Bubbles, whether the Bubbles also produce neutrinos, or what made the Bubbles in the first place. But this is exactly how science is done: collecting data, ruling out hypotheses, and forging onward.

Watch this space&ndashpart 7

Well, I did not really want to write this post. I thought I basically had it covered, but some new information came out that is related to this thread of thought, so I thought I would just do an update.

First, I will not go back over anything posited during parts 1-6 unless necessary. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then please read my previous posts.

Mysterious radio waves emitted from nearby galaxy

(Does this look familiar? it should. This is Galaxy M82)

This sounds innocuous enough unless you are interested in mysterious stuff at the galactic level and I am. This article was first posted April 14, 2010. This was then updated December 13, 2010

“The object is still a puzzle, says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow. “It was still there the last time we looked, so its lifetime is now well over a year,” he says. “We are continuing to monitor this object.”

Curious, what is this thing? I just happened across it today, so lets look.

“We don’t know what it is,” says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK.

Basically, this is ‘something’ emitting radio waves (unlike any ever seen in the universe mind you), from a nearby Galaxy called M82. It emerged over a few days (virtually unheard of in astronomical terms) and it has not changed brightness or spectrum any time since its initial creation. This too is unheard of.

Yet it does seem to be moving – and fast: its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. Such apparent “superluminal” motion has been seen before in high-speed jets of material squirted out by some black holes. The stuff in these jets is moving towards us at a slight angle and travelling at a fair fraction of the speed of light, and the effects of relativity produce a kind of optical illusion that makes the motion appear superluminal.

Hold the phone! Did you get that?

  • “SUPERLUMNAL” motion has been seen before. It has? Well, it is predicted in Super wave theory so here is your proof.
  • This ‘thing’ appears to be moving at four times the speed of light. FOUR TIMES.
  • This so called ‘optical illusion’ of ‘superluminal’ speed is indeed relativistic, but that does not mean that it is not ‘moving’ that fast. It just means that OPTCIALLY (we perceive using light speed restricted view point) that this must be an illusion. Or not see my description for Gravity.

Sometimes these guys cannot put two and two together.

Could the object be a black hole? It is not quite in the middle of M82, where astronomers would expect to find the kind of supermassive central black hole that most other galaxies have.

Or perhaps it is something MOVING away from the black hole, emitting radio waves as it goes, traveling at relativistic speeds? Nah could not be that! The ominous bit of this is that it is not losing any energy as it propagates. This could mean bad JuJu if you are in its way some light years away.

They think it may be a ‘Micro Quasar”.

Microquasars also produce plenty of X-rays, whereas no X-rays have been seen from the mystery object. “So that’s not right either”, Muxlow told New Scientist.

And this would match up again to a Super wave in that when traveling at relativistic speed, the X-rays, Gamma Rays, etc. would only be ejected FORWARD of the motion of the wave itself.

“We have just started processing data from an array of 20 radio telescopes across the Earth were taken for the central nuclear region of M82. These images will allow us to examine the structure of the new radio source in detail. However, processing such huge datasets takes significant amounts of computing effort and painstaking work. Only then will we be able to see if it is some rare form of micro-quasar. Watch this space…!” said Muxlow.

And for you “doubters”, this is straight from the research paper:

The steep radio spectral index from birth (and the possible detection of apparent superluminal motion) supports the hypothesis that the transient may be associated with an accretion disc around a massive collapsed object in the nuclear region of M82.

NOTE: Not a jet but an accretion disk, not optical illusion but actually faster than light, and originating from the Galactic Center. This is why you don’t get your news from Fox, they leave out the important bits.

I could not find any later updates for this material at this time. But this is their paper published on this phenomenon if you like that sort of detail:

My best guess is that this is an example of a Super wave moving thru a Galaxy and we got to see it from the start. This should be the proof that such things exist.

We may get to see another shortly, only more up close and personal.

IBEX: Glimpses of the Interstellar Material Beyond our Solar System

This link has a good video showing graphically some of the information described in part 1-6 of this series. But on to the update!

The results? It’s an alien environment out there: the material in that galactic wind doesn’t look like the same stuff our solar system is made of.

Told you so in Part 6. Basically they are saying that the atoms they are collecting are coming from the Galaxy itself. This has NEVER been done before, although all of these atoms are accumulating on Earth as we speak!

The other interesting quotes:

“Measuring the pressure on our heliosphere from the material in the galaxy and from the magnetic fields out there,” says Christian, “will help determine the size and shape of our solar system as it travels through the galaxy.”

“Our solar system is different than the space right outside it and that suggests two possibilities,” says David McComas the principal investigator for IBEX at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. “Either the solar system evolved in a separate, more oxygen-rich part of the galaxy than where we currently reside or a great deal of critical, life-giving oxygen lies trapped in interstellar dust grains or ices, unable to move freely throughout space.” Either way, this affects scientific models of how our solar system – and life – formed.

This changes the way we know life forms. That might make the papers or even Fox news. Or not.

Messier 82: Cigar Galaxy

Messier 82 (M82), also known as the Cigar Galaxy, is an edge-on starburst galaxy located in the constellation Ursa Major. The galaxy lies at a distance of 11.4 to 12.4 million light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 8.41. It has the designation NGC 3034 in the New General Catalogue.

The Cigar Galaxy occupies an area of 11.2 by 4.3 arc minutes of apparent sky, which corresponds to a linear diameter of about 37,000 light years. In small telescopes, it forms an impressive pair with its larger neighbour, Bode’s Galaxy (M81), which appears face-on and lies only 38 arc minutes from M82.

Messier 82 can be found about 10 degrees northwest of Dubhe, Alpha Ursae Majoris, the star that marks the northwestern corner of the Big Dipper‘s bowl.

A line drawn from Phecda, Gamma Ursae Majoris, to Dubhe and extended by the same distance leads to the M81/M82 pair. M81 is located 38 arc minutes south of M82.

In binoculars and small telescopes, the Cigar Galaxy appears as a thin rod of light, while 6-inch and 8-inch telescopes reveal the bright core and dark patches across the galaxy’s surface. Larger instruments show more details of the galaxy’s structure. The best time of year to observe M81 and M82 is during the spring.

To celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 16 years of success, the two space agencies involved in the project, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), are releasing this image of the magnificent starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). This mosaic image is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of M82. The galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds, and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions. Throughout the galaxy’s center, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy. The resulting huge concentration of young stars carved into the gas and dust at the galaxy’s center. The fierce galactic superwind generated from these stars compresses enough gas to make millions of more stars. In M82, young stars are crammed into tiny but massive star clusters. These, in turn, congregate by the dozens to make the bright patches, or “starburst clumps,” in the central parts of M82. The clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale, white objects sprinkled around the body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually individual star clusters about 20 light-years across and contain up to a million stars. The rapid rate of star formation in this galaxy eventually will be self-limiting. When star formation becomes too vigorous, it will consume or destroy the material needed to make more stars. The starburst then will subside, probably in a few tens of millions of years.
The observation was made in March 2006, with the Advanced Camera for Surveys’ Wide Field Channel. Astronomers assembled this six-image composite mosaic by combining exposures taken with four colored filters that capture starlight from visible and infrared wavelengths as well as the light from the glowing hydrogen filaments. Image: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Messier 82 is about five times more luminous than our galaxy, the Milky Way, and about 100 times more luminous than the Milky Way’s centre. It is the closest starburst galaxy to Earth and serves as a prototype for this type of galaxy. M82 is one of the smallest galaxies listed in the Messier catalogue and inclined about 80 degrees to our view. The galaxy’s edge-on appearance has earned it the name Cigar. The galaxy is receding from us at 203 km/s.

The Cigar Galaxy was long believed to be an irregular galaxy. However, near-infrared observations in 2005 revealed two symmetric trailing spiral arms in the galaxy. The high surface brightness of the galaxy’s disk and our edge-on view of M82 are the main reasons why the spiral arms had not been detected sooner. M82 is usually classified as irregular, but is probably a distorted disk galaxy and a striking prototype of a class of starburst galaxies.

Messier 81 (left) and Messier 82 (right) in visible light. Image: Anttlers at

The star forming activity in M82 is caused by the galaxy’s interaction with its large neighbour, Bode’s Galaxy (M81), the central galaxy in the M81 Group, which also includes M82 and dozens of other galaxies in Ursa Major. The centres of the Cigar Galaxy and Bode’s Galaxy are visually separated by approximately 130,000 light years.

The Cigar Galaxy is strongly affected by the interaction with M81, with tidal forces deforming the galaxy in a process that started some 100 million years ago. As a result of the encounter, star forming activity in M82 has increased tenfold compared to other galaxies.

This image shows the most detailed view ever of the core of Messier 82 (M 82), also known as the Cigar Galaxy. Rich with dust, young stars and glowing gas, M 82 is both unusually bright and relatively close to Earth. The starburst galaxy is located around 12 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). This is not the first time Hubble has imaged the Cigar Galaxy. Previous images (for example heic0604) show a galaxy ablaze with stars. Yet this image looks quite unlike them, and is dominated instead by glowing gas and dust, with the stars almost invisible. Why such a difference? The new image is more detailed than previous Hubble observations – in fact, it is the most detailed image ever made of this galaxy. But the reason it looks so dramatically different is down to the choices astronomers make when designing their observations. Hubble’s cameras do not see in colour: they are sensitive to a broad range of wavelengths which they image only in greyscale. Colour pictures can be constructed by passing the light through different coloured filters and combining the resulting images, but the choice of filters makes a big difference to the end result.
Using filters which allow through relatively broad bands of colours, similar to those our eyes see, results in natural-looking colours and bright stars, as starlight shines brightly across the spectrum.
Using filters transparent only to the wavelengths emitted by specific chemical elements, as in this image, isolates the light from glowing gas clouds, while blocking out much of the starlight. This explains why the stars appear faint in this image, and why the dust lanes are sharply silhouetted against the brightly glowing gas clouds. The image shows the light emitted by sulphur (shown in red), visible and ultraviolet light from oxygen (shown green and blue, respectively), and light from hydrogen (cyan). The field of view is approximately 2.7 by 2.7 arcminutes. Image: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005 revealed 197 massive clusters of young stars in the core of M82. The clusters have an average mass of about 200,000 solar masses. The rate of star formation in the galaxy’s core is about 10 times faster than that in our entire galaxy and the active starburst region occupies an area that is 500 parsecs in diameter.

The core of M82 is a strong source of radio emissions. Originally named Ursa Major A, the radio source is now known as 3C 231. It is the strongest source of radio emissions in Ursa Major.

The Cigar Galaxy is the brightest galaxy in the sky in infrared wavelengths. It shows an infrared excess, which is to say, it is significantly brighter in infrared than in visible light. Other galaxies that share this characteristic include Centaurus A, a bright peculiar galaxy located in the constellation Centaurus, and NGC 5195, the companion of Messier 51 (Whirlpool Galaxy).

This image shows M82, also known as the “Cigar galaxy,” in infrared light, as observed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope back in 2005. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The stars in the Cigar Galaxy’s disk appear to have formed about 500 million years ago and are found in more than 100 clusters similar to globulars but younger. Star forming activity in the disk stopped about 100 million years ago and there is no evidence of star formation occurring anywhere outside the central starburst region. Star formation in the halo has been low for the last billion years. This indicates that the Cigar Galaxy was a low surface brightness galaxy before its encounter with M81, which triggered a burst of star formation.

The supermassive black hole at the centre of M82 has a mass of about 30 million solar masses.

The first intermediate-mass black hole candidate, with an estimated mass of 200 to 5,000 solar masses, was detected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory about 600 light years from the centre of the Cigar Galaxy.

This image shows the core of galaxy Messier 82 (M82), where two ultraluminous X-ray sources, or ULXs, reside (X-1 and X-2). ULXs are regions that shine intensely with X-rays. Astronomers previously believed that all ULXs were the result of actively feeding black holes as the black holes pull matter onto them from companion stars, the matter heats up and blazes with X-rays. X-2 is the largest point of light in the pink field, while X-1 is the large point to the right of X-2 (see annotations on the image). NuSTAR has added a new twist to the mystery of ULXs by showing that one of the ULXs in M82, called M82 X-2, is not a black hole but a pulsar. The observatory’s high-energy X-ray observations caught a telltale pulse of X-rays coming from the object. A pulsar is a leftover core of an exploded star that sends out rotating beams of high-energy radiation. Pulsars are not as massive as black holes, so researchers are confounded by the immense amount of radiation pouring out of this relatively puny, compact object. Meanwhile, other researchers, using data from NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer, recently found evidence that the other ULX in M82, called M82 X-1, is indeed a black hole. They think it might belong to a long-sought intermediate-mass class — a missing link between smaller, stellar-mass black holes and the gargantuan ones that dominate the centers of most galaxies. Together, these results suggest that ULXs may be more diverse than once believed.
The image is a combination of high-energy X-ray data taken by NuSTAR (pink) and lower-energy X-rays captured by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue). Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SAO. High energy X-rays (pink): NuStar. Low energy X-rays (blue): Chandra X-ray Observatory.

In 2014, the brightest pulsar known was discovered in M82. Pulsars are dense remnants of stars that ended their life in supernova explosions. The pulsar in M82 was given the designation M82 X-2. Its luminosity is 100 times greater than its mass should be able to produce, in theory. The pulsar is classified as an ultraluminous X-ray source (ULX).


A Type Ia supernova, named SN 2014J, was detected in the Cigar Galaxy on January 21, 2014. At the time of discovery, the supernova had an apparent magnitude of 11.7. By January 23, it brightened to 10.9.

Spiral galaxy Messier 82 has long been known for its remarkable starburst activity, caused by interactions with its near neighbour Messier 81, and has been the subject of intense study for many years. On 21 January 2014, astronomers at the University of London Observatory in London, UK, pointed their telescope at the galaxy and spied something peculiar… an intensely bright spot seemed to have suddenly appeared within the galaxy. This bright spot is actually a new supernova known as SN 2014J — the closest supernova to Earth in recent decades! Since its discovery, SN 2014J has been confirmed as a type Ia supernova, making it the closest of its type to Earth in over 40 years (since SN 1972E) [2]. This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is set against a previous mosaic of Messier 82 from 2006 (heic0604a), and shows the supernova as an intensely bright spot towards the bottom right of the frame. Type Ia supernovae are even more exciting for astronomers, as they have particular properties that we can use to probe the distant Universe. They are used as standard candles to measure distances and help us understand the scale of the cosmos. Catching such a supernova so soon after its explosion is very unusual this early discovery will enable astronomers to explore its evolution in great detail, and to potentially infer the properties of its progenitor star. Messier 82 is several times more luminous than our Milky Way. Because it is only 12 million light-years away, it is one of the brighter galaxies in the northern sky. It can be found in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). The supernova is currently visible through a modest amateur telescope, so why not see if you can spot it from your back garden? The image shown here was taken on 31 January 2014 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. This image is inset into a photo mosaic of the entire galaxy taken in 2006 with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. New supernova image: NASA, ESA, A. Goobar (Stockholm University), and Hubble Heritage. Image of Messier 82: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA). Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI) and P. Puxley (NSF).

Several other probable supernovae were discovered in M82: SN 2004am (type II), SN 2008iz (type II) and another possible supernova reported in June 2009.

Unknown object

An unknown object in M82 was reported by radio astronomers at the Jodrell Bank Observatory of the University of Manchester in April 2010. The radio waves emitted by the object did not look like anything ever detected before and the source of the emissions is still uncertain. There have been several theories about the identity of the source, but none of them match the data. One of the theories suggested that it was an unusual microquasar, but this is unlikely because the object’s X-ray emissions are below the threshold for a microquasar.

The object was detected several arc seconds from the galaxy’s centre and is not likely to be associated with the central black hole in M82. It has a high apparent superluminal motion, four times the speed of light relative to the centre of M82, which is consistent with relativistic jets in supermassive black holes, but does not mean that the unknown object itself is moving faster than the speed of light.

Messier 82. Composite of Chandra, HST and Spitzer images. X-ray data recorded by Chandra appears in blue infrared light recorded by Spitzer appears in red Hubble’s observations of hydrogen emission appear in orange, and the bluest visible light appears in yellow-green. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/CXC/UofA/ESA/AURA/JHU

The Cigar Galaxy was discovered by the German astronomer Johann Elert Bode on December 31, 1774 together with the neighbouring Messier 81 (Bode’s Galaxy). Bode described the pair as “two small nebulae 3/4 degrees separated,” and wrote:

On December 31, I found through the seven-foot telescope, closely above the head of UMa, east near the star d at its ear, two small nebulous patches separated by about 0.75 degrees, the positions of which relative to the neighbored small stars are shown in the tenth figure. The patch Alpha [M81] appears mostly round and has a dense nucleus in the middle. The other, Beta [M82], on the other hand, is very pale and of elongated shape. I could determine the separation of Alpha to d as 2deg 7′, to Rho as 5deg 2′ and to 2 Sigma as 4deg 32′ with some accuracy Beta was too faint and disappeared from my eyes as soon as I shifted apart the halves of the objective glass.

Composite image of the active galaxy M82 from x-ray observations by Chandra X-Ray Observatory in three energy bands coded in red (lowest energy x-ray photons), green, and blue (highest energy). Image: NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland

The object was independently discovered by Johann Gottfried Koehler between 1772 and 1778 and later by Charles Messier’s friend and colleague Pierre Méchain in August 1779. Koehler described M81 and M82 as “two nebulous stars at the ear of the Great Bear.”

Messier determined the positions for both M81 and M82 and added them to his catalogue on February 9, 1781. He wrote:

Nebula without star, near the preceding [Messier 81] both are appearing in the same field of the telescope, this one is less distinct than the preceding its light faint & elongated: at its extremity is a telescopic star. Seen at Berlin, by M. Bode, on December 31, 1774, & by M. Méchain in the month August 1779.

The galaxies M81, M82 and NGC 3077. Image: Wikisky

The Cigar Galaxy was catalogued as H IV.79 by William Herschel, who saw it on September 30, 1802. Herschel described it as a “very bright, beautiful ray of light, about 8′ long, 2′ broad brightest in the middle of all its lengths. Follows 27 Ursae (Groombridge 1563) 14m 12s, and is 2deg 27′ south of that star.”

John Herschel added the object to the General Catalogue as GC 1950, calling it a “beautiful ray” which was “very bright very large very much extended.”

William Henry Smyth observed M81 and M82 in March 1837 and noted:

No. 81 is a fine bright oval nebula, of a white colour, in the Great Bear‘s ear, which was first registered by M. Messier in 1781, and exhibited a mottled nebulosity to WH [William Herschel]. Its major axis lies np [north preceding, NW] to sf [south following, SE] and it certainly is brightest in the middle. There are several minute companions [stars] in the field, of which a close double star in the sp [south preceding, SW] quadrant is No. 1386 in Struve’s grand Catalogue, and by him marked vicinae the members are both of 9th magnitude, and trend np [north preceding, NW] to sf [south following, SE], about 2″ apart, forming a fine though difficult object.

With a low power, No. 82 M. can be brought into the north part of the same field of view, although they are half a degree apart. It is very long, narrow, and bright, especially at its northern limb, but rather paler than No. 81. A line drawn through three stars in the sp [south preceding, SW] to a fourth in the nf [north following, NE] passes directly through the nebula. The two nebulae precede Lambda, in the end of Draco‘s tail, by 25deg, but as the vicinity is deficient of large stars, they are not readily fished up.

The apparent place here taken, is that of a small star between the two nebulae, which was differentiated with 29 Ursae Majoris, and every care taken in the reduction. The bright star in the animal’s chest, south of 29, viz. Phi, is pronounced to be double, both companions being of the 5th magnitude, and only half a second asunder.

William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse, was the first to note the dark dust lanes in the galaxy’s central region.

Halton Arp included M82 in his Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies as Arp 337.

M81 and M82 location. Image: Wikisky


Object: Galaxy
Type: Irregular
Class: I0
Designations: Messier 82, M82, NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy, Arp 337, PGC 28655, UGC 5322, 3C 231, BWE 0951+6954, DA 277, 2E 2197, 2E 0951.7+6955, GB6 B0951+6955, IRAS 09517+6954, INTREF 396, KPG 218b, 2MASX J09555243+6940469, MCG+12-10-011, NRAO 341, NVSS J095551+694046, PRC D-13, RAFGL 1388, RBS 809, RGB J0955.9+6940, RX J095550+69406, Z 333-8, Z 0951.7+6955, SDSS J095551.73+694048.6, UT 0951+699, UZC J095557.0+694110
Features: Starburst galaxy
Constellation: Ursa Major
Right ascension: 09h 55m 52.2s
Declination: +69°40󈧳”
Distance: 11.4 – 12.4 million light years (3.5 – 3.8 megaparsecs)
Number of stars: > 30 billion
Apparent magnitude: +8.41
Apparent dimensions: 11′.2 x 4′.3
Diameter: 37,000 light years
Redshift: 203 km/s


Messier 82 location. Image: IAU and Sky & Telescope magazine (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg)

The Starburst Galaxy

Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy’s center.

M82 is located near the “Saucepan”

The starburst activity is thought to be triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81,…


10 Fascinating Sealed and Secret Documents

Sealing documents and records is actually a fairly common practice. In many countries, birth, marriage and divorce records, just to name a few, are often sealed for a variety of reasons. However, when documents are sealed, or kept secret, in highly publicized cases it becomes very intriguing and mysterious with potential conspiracy implications. In this list I have gathered what I hope are 10 interesting unopened and opened documents that were sealed or not available to the public, for one reason or the other.

Sealed Until: 2073

David Kelly worked for the U.K Ministry of Defense as an expert in bio-weapons. He was also one of the key UN weapons inspectors in Iraq. In 2003, he became concerned about the US/UK claims of WMD in Iraq in the build-up to the Iraq war. The trouble started when Kelly became an anonymous source for a BBC journalist, who quoted his doubts about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. After Kelly&rsquos identity was leaked, a Parliamentary committee, tasked with investigating the intelligence on Iraq, asked Kelly to testify, which he did. During his testimony Kelly denied any knowledge of the quotes. Several days after his testimony, he went for a walk, as he did almost every day. In a wooded area about a mile away from his home he ingested up to 29 tablets of painkillers then cut his left wrist. The British government announced that Lord Hutton would lead the Inquiry into Kelly&rsquos death. The Hutton Inquiry reported, on the 28th of January, 2004, that Kelly had committed suicide. Although suicide was officially accepted as the cause of death, some medical experts have their doubts, suggesting that the evidence does not back this up. In January 2010, Lord Hutton ordered that all files relating to the post mortem remain sealed for 70 years from the date of his death, for reasons that have not been explained.

Interesting Fact: Most of the articles I came across concerning Dr. Kelly were pretty much agenda driven, with a lot of conspiracy theories. I do admit that the sealed post mortem does make it seem a little fishy. However, it should be pointed out that there are still many who believe that Kelly committed suicide. They explain that the killer, or killers, would have had to kidnap him and march him into the woods, then force tablets down his throat and make him cut his own wrist. All of this without leaving any trace of forensic evidence on Kelly. It is also said that just before he was found dead, he was seen alone by a friend on his way to the woods, where they exchanged pleasantries.

Sealed Until: Indefinitely

The life of Shirley Ardell Mason was chronicled by Arthur Flora Rheta Schreiber in the book &ldquoSybil&rdquo. It was published in 1973 and then made into a television movie in 1976, starring Sally Field. Mason&rsquos real name was not used in order to protect her identity. In the early 1950s, Mason was a student at Columbia University and had long suffered from blackouts and emotional breakdowns, and had started therapy with psychiatrist Cornelia B. Wilbur. It was their psychotherapy sessions together that was the basis of the book. Wilber diagnosed and treated her for multiple personality disorder, with, reportedly, up to 16 co-existing personalities. In 1998, Robert Rieber and John Jay of the College of Criminal Justice claimed Wilbur had manipulated Mason in order to secure a book deal. Neither Rieber nor Jay are psychologists, but the miss-diagnoses was also supported by Dr. Herbert Spiegel, who saw Mason for several sessions while Wilbur was on vacation. Spiegel argued that Sybil had disassociation disorder, not multiple personalities. Shirley Ardell Mason died of breast cancer in 1998, at the age of 75. The case still remains very controversial and, due to privacy laws, it is very unlikely that Mason&rsquos therapy records will ever be released to the public.

Interesting Fact: Dr. Herbert Spiegel recalled that Wilbur came to him with author Flora Rheta Schreiber and asked him to co-author the book with them, and that they would be calling the book Sybil a &ldquomultiple personality.&rdquo Spiegel told them, &ldquoBut she&rsquos not a multiple personality!&rdquo When Spiegel told Wilbur and Schreiber that multiple personality would not be accurate, Schreiber got in a huff and said, &ldquoBut if we don&rsquot call it a multiple personality, we don&rsquot have a book!&rdquo

Sealed Until: This Year

One of Mark Twain&rsquos wishes before he died was that his autobiography not be published until 100 years after his death, which was April 21, 1910. Twain left behind thousands of unedited pages of memoirs, together with handwritten notes. Included in the memoirs are 400 pages detailing his relationship with Isabel Van Kleek Lyon, who became his secretary after his wife died in 1904. Twain says he was so close to Lyon that she once bought him an electric vibrating sex toy. However he later turns on her, saying she had seduced him and &ldquohypnotized&rdquo him into giving her the power of attorney over his estate. Also included are his doubts about God, and questions the imperial mission of the U.S. in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. The first volume of the autobiography is to be published November 2010 by the University of California, where the manuscripts were sealed in a vault. The eventual trilogy will run close to half a million words.

Interesting Fact: No one really know for sure why Mark Twain wanted the first-hand account of his life kept under wraps for so long. Some scholars believe it was because he wanted to talk freely about issues such as religion and politics. Others argue that the time lag prevented him from having to worry about offending friends. I think it was probably both.

Sealed Until: 2066

In the 1960s and 70s renowned New York psychologist Viola Bernard and her colleague, Dr. Peter Neubauer, conducted a nature-nurture study. They persuaded an adoption agency to send twins to different homes, without telling the respective adoptive parents that the children were, in fact, twins. In 1963, Dr. Bernard wrote that the study &ldquoprovides a natural laboratory situation for studying certain questions with respect to the nature-nurture issue, and of family dynamic interactions in relation to personality development.&rdquo She also believed that, if separated, identical twins would be better off with their individual identities. When the families adopted the children, they were told that their child was already part of an ongoing child study, but neglected to tell them the key element of the study. The adoptive families would travel separately to the center once a month for 12 years for IQ tests and speech analysis. They would also visit their homes and film the children playing. The study ended in 1980, and a year later, the state of New York began requiring adoption agencies to keep siblings together. Realizing that public opinion would be against this type of research, Dr. Neubauer decided not to publish it. Yale University gathered all the information from the study and sealed it until 2066, when most of the participants will likely be dead.

Interesting Fact: I know these twins were already featured in a twins list a while back, but I think they are worth another look. The two women pictured above, Elyse and Paula, were one of the sets of twins studied. When Elyse was 35 she registered with the Adoption Information Registry, and later received a call telling her she had a twin sister. She was also told about the controversial study. When the twins were reunited they started to investigate the details of their adoption. Dr. Bernard had already died, but the twins were able to track down Dr. Neubauer and, after many requests, he agreed to meet with them. The doctor showed no remorse and offered no apology. Of the 13 children involved in the study, three sets of twins and one set of triplets have discovered their siblings. There are still four people who don&rsquot know that they have an identical twin. Efforts to have Yale University release the records by the sisters and other twins have failed. For those who want to know more about Elyse and Paula&rsquos remarkable story, you can watch an interview of the two here.

Opened in: 2007

In 2007, France&rsquos National Center for Space Studies made available over 1000 files on UFO cases, that have been researched by the French government for over 50 years. The archives were made available onto its Internet site for worldwide viewing. The files include pictures of possible UFOs, eyewitness accounts, field journals and inter-governmental documents on those sightings. Within three hours of posting the first cases, the French space agency&rsquos Web server crashed because of the flood of viewers seeking the first glimpses of official government UFO files. Jacques Patenet, who heads the Group for the Study of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena said &ldquothe data that we are releasing doesn&rsquot demonstrate the presence of extraterrestrial beings, but it doesn&rsquot demonstrate the impossibility of such presence either&rdquo. The French government is the first to release this type of information to the public. Great Britain then followed by releasing their files in 2008. You can go on the French website here and the UK site can be found here.

Interesting Fact: One of the more interesting cases included in the files happened on Aug. 29, 1967. A 13-year-old boy and his 9-year-old sister were watching over their family&rsquos cows near the village of Cussac when the boy spotted &ldquofour small black beings&rdquo about 47 inches tall. Thinking they were other youngsters, he shouted to his sister, &ldquoOh, there are black children!&rdquo But as they watched, the four beings became agitated and rose into the air, entering the top of what appeared to be a round spaceship, about 15 feet in diameter, which hovered over the field. Just as the sphere rose up, one of the passengers emerged from the top and returned to the ground to grab something, then flew back to the sphere. The sphere &ldquobecame increasingly brilliant&rdquo before disappearing with a loud whistling sound and left &ldquoa strong sulfur odor after departure,&rdquo The children raced home in tears and their father summoned the local police, who &ldquonoted the sulfur odor and the dried grass at the reported place where the sphere took off.&rdquo

Sealed Until: 2017

In 1964, the Warren Commission submitted the unpublished portion of the assassination records to the National Archives, where it was to be sealed and locked away until 2039 (75 years later). This was to serve as protection for innocent persons who might be damaged because of their relationship with participants in the case. However, due to the popularity of Oliver Stone&rsquos film, JFK, and because of the public outcry, it led to the passage of The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. This Act mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and Records Administration. The Act also requires that each assassination record be publicly disclosed in full, and be available in the collection no later than 25 years after the date of enactment. From 1994 to 1998, almost all of all Warren Commission documents had been released to the public. The resulting collection consists of more than 5 million pages of assassination-related records, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures and artifacts. By 2017, all existing assassination-related documents will be made public.

Interesting Fact: I guess I&rsquom still in the minority to believe in the lone gunman theory but I do have an open mind about it. In a recent U.S. poll the following questions were asked: &ldquoDo you think Lee Harvey Oswald was the only gunman in the Kennedy assassination, do you think there was another gunman in addition to Oswald there that day, or do you think Oswald was not involved in the assassination at all?&rdquo Results are: Only Oswald 32%, Another Gunman 51%, Oswald Not Involved 7% No Opinion 10%. You can watch a recent digitized version of the famous Zapruder film here.

Opened in: 1985

Mata Hari was the stage name of a highly successful Dutch exotic dancer, Gertrud Margarete Zelle. Because of her profession, she had many cross-border associations. During World War 1, the French Government convinced her to travel to neutral Spain. There she could develop relationships with the German navy and army and report any intelligence back to Paris. There are different accounts for reasons why she was accused of being a double spy. Several sources claim that, in January 1917, the German military transmitted a radio message to Berlin describing the helpful activities of a German spy, code-named H-21. French intelligence agents intercepted the messages and identified H-21 as Mata Hari. What makes this even more interesting is that the messages are said to be in a code that German intelligence knew had already been broken by the French. This leaves some historians to suspect that the messages were contrived and the French were using her as a propaganda boost. They claimed she had cost the lives of 50,000 French soldiers. Mat Hari was arrested, stood trail and was convicted of being a German Spy. On October 15th 1917, at the age of 41, Mata Hari was executed by firing squad. She went to her death with dignity, all the while proclaiming her innocence. The prosecutor wanted the trial to be in secret and the records were to be sealed for 100 years. However, in 1985, Biographer Russell Warren convinced the National defense Minister of France to open the sealed case file thirty two years early. In the opinion of many experts, it&rsquos said to reveal that Mata Hari was innocent of the charges of which she was convicted.

Interesting Fact: The more I read about Mata Hari, the more fascinating I found her. I also found this interesting. Henry Wales, a British reporter and eye witness, wrote this incredibly detailed account about the day of her execution. You can read it here.

Sealed Until: 2027

Fearing that Martin Luther King Jr. had ties to Communist organizations, the FBI spied on him for several years. The FBI described King as &ldquothe most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country&rdquo. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover filed a request with Attorney General Robert Kennedy to wiretap King and his associates. Kennedy gave the Bureau permission and tapped their phones and placed hidden microphones in homes, hotel rooms and offices. The FBI was unsuccessful in proving that he had ties to Communists however they did have something that would reveal embarrassing details about King&rsquos sex life. King refused to give in to the FBI&rsquos threats, even after the FBI drafted a letter to him from an anonymous source detailing everything they knew about his sexual transgressions. Highlights of the letter include: &ldquoYou are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that.&rdquo &ldquoThe American public will know you for what you are, an evil, abnormal beast, and Satan could not do more&rdquo &ldquoKing, there is only one thing left for you to do.&rdquo Some have theorized the intent of the letter was to drive King to commit suicide in order to avoid personal embarrassment. On January 31, 1977, district Judge John Lewis Smith, Jr., ordered all known copies of recorded audiotapes and written transcripts resulting from the FBI&rsquos surveillance of King between 1963 and 1968 to be sealed in the National Archives and away from public access for 50 years.

Interesting Fact: Ralph Abernathy was a close associate of King&rsquos in the civil rights movement. In his autobiography titled &ldquoAnd the Walls Came Tumbling Down&rdquo, he does mention that King was a &ldquowomanizer&rdquo. He also wrote this about the Surveillance Tapes: &ldquoI remember in particular a stay at the Willard Hotel in Washington, where they not only put in audio receivers, but video equipment as well. Then, after collecting enough of this &lsquoevidence&rsquo to be useful, they began to distribute it to reporters, law officers, and other people in a position to hurt us.&rdquo Finally, when no one would do Hoover&rsquos dirty work for him, someone in the FBI put together a tape of highly intimate moments and sent them to Martin. Unfortunately &mdash and perhaps this was deliberate &mdash [his wife] Coretta received the tape and played it first. But such accusations never seemed to touch her. She rose above all the petty attempts to damage their marriage by refusing to even entertain such thoughts.

Sealed Until: 2040

On June 17th 1940, the Lancastria was evacuating British troops and civilian refugees, including women and children from France, which was then on the point of collapse. At 6:00am, Captain Rudolf Sharp received orders to load as many troops and refugees as possible, and to disregard international laws on passenger limits. By lunchtime, the decks were packed with anywhere between 6,000 to 9,000 troops and refugees. A nearby destroyer signaled the Lancastria to get under way, if she was full to capacity, but offered no escort. At 3.48pm, a German bomber appeared and dropped four bombs which ripped through the Lancastria. Within 20 minutes the, luxury liner went down, taking with her an estimated 4,000 to 7,000 victims. The official report of this terrible incident was sealed for 100 years under the Official Secrets Act. It has been argued that this might be because if it could be confirmed that the Ministry of Defense did indeed instruct Captain Sharp to ignore load restrictions, there would be grounds for compensation claims from relatives. In July 2007, another request for documents held by the Ministry of Defense related to the sinking was rejected by the British Government. This tragedy was the largest single-day loss of life to the British Army since the Battle of the Somme. To this day there has been no official British government recognition of the dead or the survivors.

Interesting Fact: Winston Churchill immediately hid the news from the public, thinking that to reveal the truth would have been too damaging for civilian morale. He said, &lsquoThe newspapers have got quite enough disaster for today, at least.&rsquo You can watch a tribute to the Lancastria here.

Sealed Until: 2045

This is just a heart a wrenching tragedy with a great loss of life, but it remains just a little-known chapter of World War II history, and rarely appears in history books. It happened on May 3, 1945, four days after Hitler&rsquos suicide, and four days before the unconditional German surrender. After enduring years of Nazi brutality, thousands of concentration camp prisoners were loaded on to two German ships in Lubeck Bay, the Cap Arcona and the Thielbek. The British Air Force commanders ordered a strike on the ships, thinking they carried escaping SS officers, possibly fleeing to German-controlled Norway. The British Typhoon fighter-bombers struck in several attack waves. The Thielbek, packed with 2,800 prisoners, sank in just 20 minutes, killing all but 50 prisoners. The Cap Arcona carrying 4,500 prisoners took longer to go under, and many inmates burned to death. In less than two hours, more than 7,000 concentration camp refugees were dead. Some believe the Nazis intended to sink the ships at sea, to kill everyone on board. Another unlikely scenario is the British intelligence may have known who was on the ships and it would explain why the Royal Air Force sealed the records for 100 years.

Interesting Fact: For weeks after the sinking, bodies of the victims were being washed ashore, and were collected and buried in a single mass grave at Neustadt in Holstein. For nearly thirty years, parts of skeletons were being washed ashore, until the last find, by a twelve-year-old boy, in 1971.


Since the first observation of the fast radio transient phenomenon in the universe [1], the astronomy of fast radio bursts (FRBs) has attracted broad interests from both the observational and the theoretical perspectives [2, 3]. Due to their large dispersion measure and bright pulses, many researchers attempt to investigate these mysterious signals from cosmological interpretations. A major effort has been made to establish the broad-band, wide-field surveys for the purpose of hunting for FRB events from the perspective of observational astronomy, such as Parkes [4,5,6,7], Arecibo [8, 9], Green Bank Telescope (GBT) [10], Square Kilometre Array (SKA) [11, 12], Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope (MOST) [13, 14], and Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) [15]. Meanwhile, different theoretical models have been proposed to understand the possible origin of these FRB signals [16], namely, synchrotron maser emission from young magnetars in supernova remnants [17], radiation from cosmic string cusps [18], charged primordial black hole binaries coalescence [19], and many other possible models [20,21,22,23]. Finding the origin of FRBs has become one of the most important tasks for understanding them.

Cosmic strings [24], being one-dimensional topological defects, formed during the early evolution of the universe [25]. It might be possible that cosmic strings are superconducting wires if they carry electric charge [26]. These so-called superconducting cosmic strings (SCSs) can be achieved by introducing a charged scalar field whose flux is trapped inside strings with the electromagnetic gauge invariance broken, and hence can yield electromagnetic effects [24]. These primordial relics, if they exist in the sky, could behave as giant wires that may release electromagnetic signals in a wide range of frequencies [27, 28]. Thus, it is natural to explore the hypothetical possibility for SCSs to explain the observed FRB events, namely, due to the oscillations of string loops [29], dynamics of string cusps and kinks [30,31,32], and effects of the magnetic field upon string loops [33].

The parameters of SCSs (string tension (Gmu ) and current on the string I) have been constrained by different types of astronomical observations. Namely, the CMB analyses based on the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and the South Pole Telescope can lead to an upper bound on the string tension of (Gmu < 1.7 imes 10^<-7>) [34], and this bound was later improved to (Gmu < 1.3 imes 10^<-7>) with the data from the Planck satellite [35]. Both CMB and the pulsar timing measurements put a robust bound on the string tension in the same order [36,37,38,39,40,41]. The spectral distortions of the CMB photons [42,43,44] suggested some additional constraints on parameter space i.e. (10^<-19>< Gmu < 10^<-7>) and (I > 10^4

mathrm) would be excluded [45]. In most of the previous work, it has been assumed that all SCSs take the exact same value of the current, which would greatly simplify the analysis while one could grasp the basic picture of the underlying physics. However, in a much realistic situation, one would expect a probability distribution for the currents inside various strings in the universe. To explore this possibility, in this article we put forward a novel parameterization for SCSs, in which the currents are assumed to follow the exponential distribution. For this type of distribution, the probability of electric neutral strings is the highest, which corresponds to uncharged cosmic strings. The probability for cosmic strings with larger current becomes lower, which indicates that SCSs can hardly be formed at extremely high-energy scales. Such an exponential distribution as considered in the present work is not based on a particular fundamental theory, but generally from the intuitive observation that the lifetime of a string with the fixed tension should be shorter if it would carry a larger current due to the energy loss of both gravitational and electromagnetic radiations. We also update the constraints on the parameter space of SCSs using the latest published data.

This article is organized as follows. In Sect. 2 we describe the parameterized model of SCSs and the associated radiation mechanism. In Sect. 3 we present the numerical estimation based on the newly proposed parametrization and report the updated constraint on the parameter space of these cosmic strings. Section 4 is devoted to a summary of our results accompanied by a discussion. In the theoretical derivations, we used the natural units with (hbar = c = 1) . In the numerical calculations, we followed the setups of the Parkes multi-beam receiver and ASKAP survey. Footnote 1


September 20, 2017 at 10:57 pm

It is quite probable, but it is impossible for any interferometer based GW receiver to sense such a GW wave from a future merger of these reported suspected black holes. It is impossible. even, if the interferometer is thousands of miles long. Primarily, because, gravity still travels at infinite speed as proposed by Newton Einstein, indeed, could not change the speed. Let me add, 6 years earlier, minuscule gravitational waves of a wide frequency range (nearly zero to around 3 KHz) were first produced and detected in my lab late in 2010 and were reported in a US patent application which now is a US patent 8521029. You can find the patent detail on the USPTO site as well as on google patents . You can check out gravitational waves and my work on Wikipedia. Let me also add, even if I am letting out a little secret, it is impossible to register any black hole mergers otherwise too, primarily because of the sheer volume of mergers -- I cannot talk more on this subject -- besides due to too much of GW noise present around us (read in my patent about how this noise is generated). So, let me tell you, LIGO actually never detected any black hole mergers in the past too. The least I can say is that the reported mergers were a result of the intense imagination of the LIGO folks, to say the least. Unless LIGO is not confident of their so-called GW wave findings from BH mergers, why should they be tweeting this research with excitement? Then let us not forget it is a finding by a low-credibility Indian team and India has staked USD300 million for a disused LIGO setup to be shipped to India with a new name INDIGO.

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September 28, 2017 at 9:46 am

I will answer the would-be rhetorical question you asked. Because they are human beings and have passion.
Your ad hominem argument is logically fallacious. Best to use evidence and relevant factors when assessing scientific claims. Tsk! Tsk!

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September 21, 2017 at 10:21 am

Interesting article, but this is not the closest known SMB binary.

The SMB binary OJ287 has an estimated semi-major axis of 0.174 light years.

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September 21, 2017 at 11:26 am

Thanks for the correction, Marshall. This article should have said that the pair are the closest detected *via direct imaging* and I've made those corrections to the text.

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September 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Mrk 533 is also catalogued as NGC 7674. It's a 13th magnitude galaxy in Pegasus, appearing about 1 x 1 arcminutes in diameter, 420 million light years distant. You could see it tonight through a 10 inch telescope in a reasonably dark sky.

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October 4, 2017 at 10:15 pm

On a related subject.
Origins of Super-Massive Black Holes in the Early Universe