Thuringian researchers mix in search of new stars

Thuringian researchers mix in search of new stars

Thuringian researchers looking for new stars

Updated: 03/01/2022 04:55

, Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Whale Galaxy NGC 4631 in three different wavelength ranges: Star formation in the Milky Way produces hot gas visible in X-rays (blue) and high energy particles revealed in radio (orange). Shown overlaid in the center is a visible-light image of the Milky Way.

Photo: Volker Heesen / Michael Stein / Hamburger Observatory

The Thuringian State Observatory in Tottenburg is currently working on a new sky map with 4.4 million galaxies.

Seven billion years – that the view of the universe leads to a new map of the sky that researchers have published. The data comes from the world’s largest Loafer radio telescope. They have been recorded by network measuring stations in Poland, Ireland, France, Sweden, Latvia – as well as at the Thuringian State Observatory in Tottenburg (TLS). As part of LOAFAR, the 96 antennas at the observatory ten kilometers northeast of Jena have been searching the sky for four years searching for information on the formation and evolution of galaxies. Evaluation of the recorded radio waves is continuously connected via a 10 gigabit data line with all stations involved in Jülich’s high-performance computer Juvels, which is currently the fastest supercomputer in Europe. The mastermind now led by Thuringian has conceived the most complex astronomical image ever conceived.

TLS astronomer Matthias Hooft describes the result as the superimposition of different time slices in an image. You can see the galaxies in the northern sky, that is, the sky above the Earth’s hemisphere north of the equator. The oldest of these galaxies is seven billion years old. Massive black holes or regions of very strong star formation can be seen in galaxies. Thus 4.4 million galaxies were made visible in the radio wave range. A million of these galaxies were previously completely unknown, as many discoveries and objects were unseen by the human eye. “If the data is evaluated from only one station, the result will be disappointing. Loafer’s connectivity gives us high resolution and thus a fascinating look into the history of the universe,” Hoft said. In total, the research groups evaluated recordings from 3,500 hours of observations — the amount of data on 20,000 laptop hard drives. will fill the drive.

So far, 27 percent of the recorded data has been mapped. According to Hoft, the sky picture could be completed in a few years. A wealth of information has already been shown by recent scientific work. The sky map is the most comprehensive study ever of colliding galaxy clusters – the largest structures in the universe – containing hundreds to thousands of galaxies. In addition, so-called “jellyfish galaxies” were observed, which lose dust and gas during their journey through a space medium.

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