Wednesday, February 20, 2019

New Night Sky Map Reveals 300,000 Galaxies


   An international team composed of over 200 astronomers from 18 countries has published new findings from the first phase of a new space survey. This was conducted using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope located in the Netherlands.
   Due to the telescope's ability to pick up on low radio frequencies invisible to other telescopes, LOFAR's observation of a quarter of the northern hemisphere mapped 300,000 sources, almost all of which were galaxies in the distant universe.
    "What we are beginning to see with LOFAR is that, in some cases, clusters of galaxies that are not merging can also show this emission, albeit at a very low level that was previously undetectable," said Annalisa Bonafede from the University of Bologna and INAF. "This discovery tells us that, besides merger events, there are other phenomena that can trigger particle acceleration over huge scales." 

   The 26 research papers detailing the findings in the special issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics was made possible with only the first two percent of the sky survey. By the end of the mission, the team hopes to create sensitive high-resolution images of the entire northern sky, revealing close to 15 million radio sources.
   "LOFAR produces enormous amounts of data - we have to process the equivalent of ten million DVDs of data," said Cyril Tasse from the Observatoire de Paris - Station de radioastronomie à Nançay. "The LOFAR surveys were recently made possible by a mathematical breakthrough in the way we understand interferometry"


Read the full press release at: https://www.astron.nl/new-sky-map-detects-hundreds-thousands-unknown-galaxies
Or check out the many publications featured in Astronomy & Astrophysics made possible by the survey here: https://www.aanda.org/component/toc/?task=topic&id=920

Image Credit: Joseph EID

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