Observing and capturing this magical “fireworks” in detailed images took expertise and planning. Professor James Chibueze, a researcher at the North-West University (NWU) Space Research Center, made a significant contribution by processing data from the new MeerKAT radio telescope, which captured the shock wave.
Professor James explains that shock waves are formed when clusters of galaxies collide. He says that when two clusters of galaxies attract each other by the force of gravity, it inevitably leads to a collision, resulting in a dramatic shock wave.
He contributed to the work of a team of international astronomers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, the National Institute of Astrophysics in Italy, the University of Helsinki in Finland, the Netherlands Institute for Research space, the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, USA, among others.
Their article on the phenomenon was published in the prestigious scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A).
Professor James worked on the technical part of the research adding value to the processed MeerKAT data as a member of the MeerKAT Galaxy Cluster Legacy Survey (MGCLS) Technical Working Group.
Additionally, it has contributed to the scientific discussion of the possible interaction between a radio galaxy (a galaxy emitting radiation in the radio frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum) and the Southern Radio Relic (a diffuse synchrotron* radio source found at the edge of the cluster galaxy) of Abell 3667, a cluster of galaxies.
He says the South African MeerKAT telescope gives researchers the sensitivity and resolution needed to study large-scale faint structures (spanning more than 60 times the size of our galaxy, the Milky Way) in the universe. The galaxy cluster Abell 3667 is an example of these fantastic results.
Prof James also made the news last year and was featured in Nature for his contribution to the discovery of hot gas strokes (jets) bending when interacting with magnetic fields (read here).
He was the only African researcher in 2020 to have contributed to the Japanese Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) radio astronomy project Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA). This project revealed that the Earth is moving faster than originally thought and is nearly 2,000 light-years closer than previously thought to the black hole at the center of the planet. Milky Way.