picture of the day
Credit: Bernie and Jay Slotnick/Adam
Jul 11, 2007
The "Mysterious Arms" of M106
According to NASA scientists, a 45 year old
mystery has been solved using gravitational theories. But have
conventional ideas failed to consider the most powerful force in the
Messier Deep Sky Object 106, or NGC 4258 is pictured
above. The bright tracery of a "star forming region" can be
seen around the galactic equator, extending in two
barred-spiral arms that stretch out from the center.
However, in a recent
Chandra x-ray image, other spiral structures can be seen
that don't align with the spinning plane of the galaxy.
Furthermore, another arm, also not in the same orbital plane
with the other two is visible in
radio images taken by the
Very Large Array.
The NASA imaging
team from the
University of Maryland has been quoted as saying:
"But in radio
and X-ray images, two additional spiral arms dominate the
picture, appearing as ghostly apparitions between the main
arms," says team member Andrew Wilson of the University of
Maryland. These so-called "anomalous arms" consist mostly of
gas. "The nature of these anomalous arms is a long-standing
puzzle in astronomy," says Yang. "They have been a mystery
since they were first discovered in the early 1960s."
arms are unexplained because they occur along the paths of
highly energetic particles being ejected from the galaxy's
central region. However, when two such pairs of jets were
discovered, tipped at thirty degrees from the plane of the
galaxy, the puzzle deepened because no galaxy has been
two active jets occurring at the same time in different
alignments. Because of that difficulty, the original surmise
that a black hole was responsible for the energetic
emissions was abandoned, although a black hole is still
thought to be the source for most of the energy coming from
Now, with these
new observations, the hypothesis has shifted to shock waves
traveling through the gas and dust in the "anomalous arms."
The violent expansion of the shock waves heats the gas to
such a degree that it
generates x-rays strong enough for the Chandra
experiment to detect.
"One of the
predictions of this scenario is that the anomalous arms will
gradually be pushed out of the galactic disk plane by
jet-heated gas," says Yang. "The XMM-Newton spectra show
that X-rays are more strongly absorbed in the direction of
the northwest arm than in the southeast arm. The results
strongly suggest that the southeast arm is partly on the
near side of M106's disk, and the northwest arm is partly on
the far side."
data from the
Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope, scientists compared
data from 2001 with more recent images and determined that
the heat is being absorbed by warm gases along the axis of
the galactic arms in M106.
How many more
times will NASA observers ignore the obvious conclusions to
their observations and admit that
electrical forces are creating the x-rays and the
"mysterious" arms that they see? By relying on gravity and
"hot gas" as their only recourse for explanations, the
effects of charged plasma in space are not given credence.
Therefore Birkeland currents and their
twisting formations when they pass through ionized
plasma are not mentioned. Nor is the way that x-rays and
other high energy emissions are generated by the pinch
effects in such currents discussed. Electricity in space is
discounted as a source for observations, because
astrophysicists aren't trained to consider it. By ignoring
that information even more mysteries will be created instead
of answers and more problems will be produced instead of
solving the old ones.
By Stephen Smith
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