New radio images of the center of our Galaxy look like modern abstract art

2022-04-27 0 By

The artist is South Africa’s unparalleled MeerKAT telescope.The Center of the Milky Way The new image of the center of the Milky Way provides a unique dramatic view of the galactic center we call home.The South African Radio Observatory (SARAO) on January 26 released new images of its radio telescope MeerKAT, the most sensitive of its kind.They provide new insights into supernovae, nonhot filaments, and the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way.Peering into the center of the Milky Way, the MeerKAT telescope uses 64 antennas spread out over nearly five miles (8 kilometers) to capture radio waves.Only radio waves can penetrate the layer of cosmic dust between Earth and the galactic center, meaning MeerKAT is uniquely positioned to peer into dense areas.The newly released images are an impressive demonstration of MeerKAT’s power.While they look like abstract impressionist art, they show “exploding stars, stellar nurseries, and chaotic regions around the 4 million solar mass supermassive black hole lurking at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy,” according to SARAO.The bright, yolk-shaped object in the center of the image at the top of the page is the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.The bright yellow represents the massive radio emission of material being sucked into the black hole.NTF and the Black Hole at the Center of the Milky Way Meanwhile, the red streaks in the image above are non-hot filaments (NTFs), huge magnetized chains found only near the center of the Milky Way.The Sauron eye is shown from another Angle of the black hole.The researchers who pieced the images together published their findings in a paper in the Astrophysical Journal, and SARAO released a public database for other scientists to use.The database includes detailed information on supernova remnants that have never been observed before.The giant cloud in the image below is a supernova remnant, while the bright light on the left is known as the “Mouse Nebula” because of its resemblance to a small rodent.The incredible bright spot consists of a pulsar traveling at 100 kilometers per second, explaining the visible tail.The center of the image shows the remains of an exploding star. “I spent a lot of time looking at this image during the process of processing it, and I never tired of it,” said Dr. Ian Heywood of Oxford University, lead author of the study.When I show this image to people who may not be familiar with radio astronomy or otherwise, I always try to emphasize that radio imaging isn’t always like this, and that MeerKAT is really a leap forward in its capabilities.Over the years, it has been a real privilege to work with SARAO’s colleagues, who have built this fantastic telescope.