Ghostly circles in the sky can't be explained. And astronomers are excited.

Jul 27, 2020
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These are rather bizarre objects.

Quoting from the article :

"We still have no idea how big or far away they are. They could be objects in our galaxy, perhaps a few light-years across, or they could be far away in the Universe and maybe millions of light years across."

That is even more bizarre!

Since these are such strange objects, and they are not explained by the most obvious sources, it is time for some WAGs, since wild notions clearly cannot be ruled out.

It seems possible that an ORC is the result of a photon sphere (1), which is a large number of captured photons orbiting, in this case, a massive black hole. The photons are too far away to be pulled into the BH, but the gravitational field is strong enough to prevent their escape from orbiting. The light from these object seen in telescopes is somehow generated by the photon sphere, and that light can escape since it is not bound to the sphere.

Or perhaps the captured light is slowly being released from the sphere as the BH evaporates! Surely this is a WAG, but one that fits the limited data.


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photon_sphere
 
Nov 12, 2020
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Very intriguing; I suspect that the same or a similar effect has been observed within the past ten years and simply shelved. Perhaps some ambitious grad student could "Make his/her Bones" by searching files?
 
Jul 27, 2020
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Or perhaps the captured light is slowly being released from the sphere as the BH evaporates! Surely this is a WAG, but one that fits the limited data.
Shoot, since this is clearly a WAG with such limited data, and since I am already out on a cosmic limb, I will even double down on my notion of these ORCs as being photon spheres : These are formed around massive primordial black holes!! (PBHs - see link below). Which means they could have been collecting light since the get, and that it could have a massive photon sphere. The older the photon sphere, the more photons it should have trapped.

Throwing in PBHs surely makes it even more contentious, some might even say preposterous, or ludicrous, or even both! (But at least Hawking is on my side about to potential for PBHs). But this concept allows these ORCs to be anywhere in the universe, and not at galactic cores like all known massive BHs. ("Super massive black holes" is the norm for galactic cores, but the PBHs for ORCs do not need such masses. A few million solar masses each might suffice.)

They could be anywhere you want them to be if they are PBHs. And that is what the data suggests. They do not appear to be associated with any galaxies, etc. So many ghostly spherical objects of totally unknown origin, apparently independent of all other objects in space, deserves to have an origin that is very unique. Perhaps someone can come up with one that is even more unique.

 
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Nov 12, 2020
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Captured light? Photons of an element? OK! With two cups of coffee, and a stale Danish, here's my simplistic WAG. Determine the Red Shift Factor via the measured observed wave length value divided by the laboratory measured wave length value of the element. That ratio may approximate the distance of the object now divided by distance of the object when the light was emitted. Here's the "snazzy part": RSF -1 = Z. Next: multiply the speed of light by Z, divide the product by Hubble's constant, (using 22 km/sec per 10^6 ly); the result may estimate the distance when the light was emitted. Plug that result into the first equation to get the distance of the object now. (However, depending on the RSF value , a scale factor may be necessary). Thus perhaps astronomers could have a "Kentucky Windage" direction and place to look for this "mysterious" object. Sadly, Arecibo is in shambles. It would be nice to know more about the object as part of our complex Universe.
 

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