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A couple of years ago, in the January 2006 issue of the TASC newsletter, Dr.Dan Reynolds reviewed competing interpretations of Drs.Their link to merging activity of the host galaxy cluster makes them a powerful tool to investigate the physical processes that occur during these energetic events.” Dr Knowles and her collaborators used data from the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope in India to detect a region of very faint, diffuse radio emission in one of their target galaxy clusters.The emission was classified as a radio halo based on its physical properties, making this galaxy cluster one of the lowest-mass systems known to host a radio halo.After enough alpha decays have occurred, a spherical shell of discoloration results.Cross sectional specimens of these discolored areas can be studied with an optical microscope.

Dr Knowles, who received her Ph D from UKZN earlier this year with funding from the Square Kilometre Array South Africa bursary programme, said “Radio halos are fascinating objects to study as they probe the non-thermal components of galaxy clusters, such as magnetic fields, which are difficult to study at other astronomical wavelengths.Young earth creation scientists who agree on what the bible teaches about creation may still disagree on the interpretation of natural phenomena.Such is the case with creation scientists Robert Gentry Radiohalos are areas of discoloration found in rocks containing radioactive elements that undergo alpha decay.The sample of galaxy clusters targeted by Dr Knowles was discovered by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile, a project in which the UKZN group is closely involved.“We targeted this galaxy cluster because we knew it was undergoing a merger, based on existing X-ray observations, which gave it a better chance of hosting a radio halo”, said Dr Knowles, winner of a 2015 DST Women in Science Doctoral Fellowship.

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A parent radioactive atom decays into a daughter atom in various ways, one of which is by the emission of an alpha particle from the parent atom's nucleus.

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