- ivy gosh
- Science reporter, BBC News
Astronomers have captured some of the most detailed images ever of galaxies in deep space.
They are of much higher definition than usual and reveal the inner workings of galaxies in unprecedented detail.
Can many photos Highlight the role of black holes in the formation of stars and planets.
Researchers say the pictures It will transform our understanding On how galaxies evolve.
The images are of radio waves emitted by galaxies.
Researchers often study radio waves from astronomical objects rather than the visible light they emit because it allows them to see things they might otherwise be. Obscured by Earth’s atmosphere or dust and gases in distant galaxies.
Many regions of space that are dark to our eyes actually burn up in the radio waves they emit.
This allows astronomers to observe regions where stars are forming or the cores of galaxies.
What’s new is that the team has greatly improved the resolution of radio images Connecting more than 70,000 small antennas distributed in nine European countries.
Combining radio signals from many antennas is not easy.
The team has spent six years developing a completely new look To collect the signal from each antenna, digitize it, transmit it to a central processor and then combine all the data into images that are not only of enormous scientific interest but also of great beauty.
Achievement is a technical achievement Directed by Lea Morabito from Durham University, UK.
“Analysis of the data for so long and then finally getting those pictures and being the first person to see what you look like, it’s amazing,” he told BBC News.
The photo at the top of the page was made by a member of the Morabito team.
It shows a barely visible galaxy, amidst jets of orange matter, captured from both sides, each much larger than the galaxy itself.
Airplanes caused by a A supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy, A being with such strong gravity that not even light can escape.
Matter would normally be sucked in, but the internal drag also creates forces around the black hole causing the matter to be flung very far into space.
These planes have been observed before, but Astronomers have obtained new scientific information from the dark bands From the plane on the right, which we haven’t seen before.
Astronomers believe that these represent periods of relative inactivity From a black hole, when it ejects less material.
Therefore, the image gives researchers an idea of The “sleep cycle” of a black hole.
The image above shows the collision of two galaxies.
The bright spot on the left is caused by an explosion of stars – creating what is effective galactic windBlowing dust and gas away from it.
The light from the galaxy shown directly above originated when the universe was only 2.6 billion years old.
up and down there Jets of material thrown into the hole Inner black.
Usually, these first galaxies cannot be studied in detail.
But now, for the first time, astronomers have seen someone’s structure at radio frequencies, providing important scientific information about how a black hole interacts with its environment.
The pictures reveal that Galaxies are much more than just a group of stars.
They are dynamic factories for the production of the sun and planets, powered by black holes, according to Neil Jackson of the University of Manchester.
“until the Veteran astronomers say “Wow!” When they see these pictures.
“It has become very clear, To understand the evolution of galaxies, we need to fully understand the black hole in the center, Because it seems to have a fundamental impact on how galaxies evolve and that’s what these images allow us to do,” says Jackson.
Morabito says that images like this help astronomers learn how these processes that created stars and planets, including our own, work. own solar system.
“We’re really starting to understand how galaxies evolve. And black holes are a big part of that Its planes can carry fuel for star formation. And when it’s thrust out, it can change galaxies. It can even trigger or stop star formation and reduce its occurrence,” adds Jackson.
Millions of galaxies
The first results led to the publication of nine scientific articles on the dynamics of black holes in galaxies.
But this is just the beginning of the team. They plan to survey millions of galaxies in the next years.
“I think there are definitely some surprises waiting for us,” Morabito says. “Every time you start doing something new in astronomy, you always discover things you never expected.”