These are the most beautiful images ever taken of the center of the Milky Way and its mysterious “radio filaments”

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At the heart of the Milky Way, a series of astonishing phenomena is taking place. And thanks to a new map of the region, more detailed than ever, astronomers should finally be able to better understand them.

One supermassive black hole some four million times the mass of our Soleil which sows chaos. From stars who die in gigantic explosions. And others that are born fromcollapse from clouds from gas. There are a lot of amazing things happening in the heart of the Milky Way. Unfortunately, between our Earth and this region, there are something like 25,000 light years. And a lot of dust that prevents us from admiring the show.

Except to observe the center of our Galaxy with a radiotélescope. And that is precisely what astronomers of the Astronomical Observatory radio from South Africa have done. They took advantage of the sensitivity of theinstrument MeerKAT and its geographical location (South Africa) to get a stunning image of details from the heart of the Milky Way. “I spent a lot of time looking at this image. But I never get tired of it”, even comments Ian Heywood, lead author of the study, in a communicated.

The image in question is the result of 20 observation sequences spread over 200 hours; 70 terabytes of raw data processed by two supercomputers. It covers an area of ​​6 square degrees. That is about 30 times the size of the full moon and with a resolution amazing 4 arc seconds. In other words, the angle subtended by the width of a hair held at arm’s length.

A fresh look at some strange objects

Among the salient features revealed by this image are supernova remnants. kinds of shells matter expanding stars that form when massive stars explode at the end of their lives. And notably, here, a rare example of one of these almost perfectly spherical shells.

But above all, the image offers the most beautiful view ever obtained by the astronomers mysterious “radio wires” that don’t seem to exist anywhere else. Magnetized wires that are up to 150 light-years long. They would be millions of years old. And while they were discovered 35 years ago, researchers still lack a conclusive explanation as to their origin. Perhaps the result of the activity of the Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole who lives in the heart of the Milky Way. In any case, the additional filaments — ten times more than those initially discovered — that appear on the MeerKAT image should help to learn more.

For astronomers, the publication of this image is just one more proof that it is always possible to open up new horizons with the development of increasingly efficient instruments. They are now impatiently waiting for the whole community to take it up to study it and reveal, perhaps, other surprises!

NASA releases unprecedented image of extreme phenomena at the center of the Milky Way

The pandemic from Covid-19 did not have only bad effects. The proof today, since it has given time to astronomers to work on composing a splendid image of the heart of the Milky Way. A region that is the seat of phenomena of extreme violence.

Article of Nathalie Mayer published on 05/31/2021

the heart of the Milky Way is a special region. Stunningly beautiful. Where extreme phenomena are played out. that influence its development. And after no less than 20 years of observation using several instruments, astronomers now offer us a superb composite image of it — even extending above and below the plane of the galaxy where most of the stars –, overlapping no less than 370 shots.

Remember that studying the center of our Galaxy is not so simple. Even though it is only 26,000 light-years from our Solar system. Our point of view is indeed obstructed by a kind of fog very dense with dust and gas. Which can however be pierced by instruments like the X-ray observatory Chandra. Unveiling remnants of supernovae, black holes and neutron stars as well as all kinds of overheated gas wires and magnetic fields intense.

Structures reveal themselves in the center of the Milky Way

One of the updated structures particularly caught the attention of researchers at the University of Massachusetts (United States). Named GO. 17-0.41, it appears as an interlacing ofemissions radio and X-rays, perpendicular to the plane of the Milky Way, about 20 light-years long. And according to physicists, She is “evidence of an event of magnetic reconnection In progress “. A violent phenomenon known, for example, to be responsible for solar flares and indirectly, from space weather that affects the Earth.

Thus an in-depth study of this structure may allow astronomers to better understand the meteorology galactic. All the same, it remains to be understood how much energy this event is releasing, how it is transported and to what extent it will influence the evolution of theecosystem of the Milky Way. Meanwhile, the newly released image of the Milky Way’s core also shows large plumes of hot gas extending some 700 light-years away. Maybe like a analogy on a galactic scale of the particles ejected by the Soleil.

Futura in the Stars, it is the unmissable event for astronomy and space enthusiasts. Every 1st of the month, find us for a complete tour of the ephemerides of the month, with advice for best observing what is happening in the sky. A special episode published every 15th of the month will offer you to learn more about a particular object or event that will mark astronomical and space news.

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At the heart of the Milky Way, a series of astonishing phenomena is taking place. And thanks to a new map of the region, more detailed than ever, astronomers should finally be able to better understand them. One supermassive black hole some four million times the mass of our Soleil which sows chaos. From stars…

At the heart of the Milky Way, a series of astonishing phenomena is taking place. And thanks to a new map of the region, more detailed than ever, astronomers should finally be able to better understand them. One supermassive black hole some four million times the mass of our Soleil which sows chaos. From stars…

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