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The telescope captures the center of the Milky Way, reveals the remains of dead stars


The telescope captures the center of the Milky Way, reveals the remains of dead stars

A new view of the Milky Way from Murchison Widefield Array, with the lowest frequencies in red, the middle frequencies in green, and the highest frequencies in blue. Huge golden fibers indicate huge magnetic fields, supernova remnants appear as small spherical bubbles, and areas of massive star formation appear in blue. [The supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy is hidden in the bright white region in the centre.] Source: Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker (ICRAR / Curtin) and the GLEAM team

A radio telescope in Western Australia has captured a spectacular new view of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. A photo from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope shows what our galaxy would look like if human eyes could see radio waves.

Astrophysicist Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker from the Curtin University node at the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) created images using the Pawsey Supercomputing Center in Perth. "This new view records low-frequency radio wave emissions from our galaxy, looking in both small details and larger structures," she said. "Our images look directly at the center of the Milky Way toward the region that astronomers call the center of the galaxy."

Test data are from the MWA GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky studies, or GLEAM for short. The test has a resolution of two minutes of arc (roughly the same as the human eye) and maps the sky using radio waves at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz (FM radio is close to 100 MHz).

"It's the strength of this wide frequency range that allows us to untangle different overlapping objects when looking at the complexity of the galactic center," said Dr. Hurley-Walker.

The telescope captures the center of the Milky Way, reveals the remains of dead stars

27 newly discovered supernova remnants – remnants of stars that ended their lives in large star explosions thousands to hundreds of thousands of years ago. Radio images track the edges of the explosion as they continue to expand into interstellar space. [Some are huge, larger than the full moon, and others are small and hard to spot in the complexity of the Milky Way.] Source: Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker (ICRAR / Curtin) and the GLEAM team.

"Basically, different objects have different" radio colors "so we can use them to determine what physics are in the game."

Using images, Dr. Hurley-Walker and her colleagues discovered the remains of 27 massive stars that exploded into supernovae at the end of their lives. These stars would be eight or more times more massive than our Sun before their dramatic destruction thousands of years ago.

Younger and nearer supernova remnants or those in very dense environments are easy to detect, and 295 are already known. Unlike other instruments, MWA can find those that are older, distant or very empty.

The telescope captures the center of the Milky Way, reveals the remains of dead stars

A photo mosaic of 28 photos captured the arch of the milky way over Guilderton Lighthouse in Western Australia and the large and small Magellanic clouds. The location of the supernova that would have exploded 9,000 years ago and was visible in the night sky is shown in the photo. Source: Paean Ng / Astrordinary Imaging

Dr. Hurley-Walker said that one of the newly discovered supernova remnants lies in such an empty space of space, far from the plane of our galaxy, so despite being quite young, it is also very weak. "These are the remains of a star who died less than 9,000 years ago, which means that the explosion could have been visible to Native Australian people at that time," she said.

Cultural astronomy specialist Professor Duane Hamacher of the University of Melbourne said some Aboriginal traditions describe bright new stars appearing in the sky, but we don't know any definitive traditions describing this particular event. "But now that we know when and where this supernova has appeared in the sky, we can work with indigenous elders to see if any of their traditions describe this cosmic event. If it existed, it would be extremely exciting, "he said.

Dr. Hurley-Walker said that the two discovered supernova remnants are quite unusual "orphans" found in a region of the sky where there are no massive stars, which means that future searches in other such regions may be more effective than astronomers expected. She said that other supernova remnants found in research are very old. "It is very exciting for us because it is difficult to find supernova remnants in this phase of life – they allow us to look back in time in the Milky Way."

The MWA telescope is a precursor to the world's largest radio telescope, Square Kilometer Array, to be built in Australia and South Africa from 2021. "MWA is ideal for searching for these objects, but has limited sensitivity and resolution," said Dr. Hurley-Walker. "The low-frequency part of the SKA that will be built in the same place as the MWA will be thousands of times more sensitive and will have a much better resolution, so they should find thousands of supernova remnants that have formed over the last 100,000 years, even on the other side Milky way. "

Australian desert telescope surveying the sky in radio technicolor

More information:
"New candidate supernova radio residues detected in the GLEAM study over 345 °… etected_in_GLEAM.pdf

"Remains of candidates after supernova radio observed in the GLEAM study over 345 °… /gleam-survey-ii.pdf

GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky Murchison Widefield Array (GLEAM) II study: Galactic Plane 345 °… erved_by_GLEAM-1.pdf

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International Center for Radio Astronomy Research

The capture telescope captures the center of the Milky Way, uncovers the remains of dead stars (2019, November 20)
was recovered on November 20, 2019

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