Infotainment

Stunning image of Milky Way captured using radio waves

Nov 26 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 11/26/2019 10:03:21 AM IST

 Astronomers in Australia have created a “unique view” of Milky Way by taking information from radio telescope and producing an image of what our galaxy would look like if humans could see radio waves.

The image from the Murchison Widefield Array telescope shows low frequency radio emissions from centre of the galaxy in yellow and gold, with flecks of blue and green.

“Our images are looking directly at middle of the Milky Way, towards a region astronomers call the Galactic Centre”, says Astrophysicist Dr Natasha Hurley Walker.

The team from Curtin University used massive image to discover remnants of 27 massive stars that exploded in supernovae, one of which happened 9,000 year ago and would have been visible in Earth sky.

“Now that we know when and where this supernova appeared in the sky, we can collaborate with Indigenous elders to see if any of their traditions describe this cosmic event. If any exist, it would be extremely exciting,” he said. 

The images were taken using the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey, or GLEAM for short.

The system has a resolution of two arcminutes (about the same as the human eye) and maps the sky using radio waves at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz (FM radio is near 100 MHz).

“It’s the power of this wide frequency range that makes it possible for us to disentangle different overlapping objects as we look toward the complexity of the Galactic Centre,” Dr Hurley Walker said.

“Essentially, different objects have different radio colours, so we can use them to work out what kind of physics is at play.

There were several ‘surprises’ found within the data, according to Dr Hurley-Walker and her team from Australia.

Two of the supernova remnants discovered in the image were “orphans” that means they were found in a region of sky where there are no massive stars.

Other supernova remnants discovered in the research were very old.

“This is really exciting for us, because it’s hard to find supernova remnants in this phase of life, they allow us to look further back in time in the Milky Way”, she said

The team hope to be able to discover much more in future, as the next generation of radio telescopes come online.

The Square Kilometre Array, which is due to be built in Australia and South Africa from 2021 will be much more sensitive than the one used to create this image. “The low-frequency part of the Square Kilometre Array will be thousands of times more sensitive and have much better resolution. ‘It should find the thousands of supernova remnants that formed in the last 100,000 years, even on the other side of the Milky Way.”

(The Hollywood Reporter)

 

-Tags:#Milky

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