Science is evolving and we are coming close to space. A mega new telescope called MeerKAT radio telescope has captured the clearest view of the center of our Milky Way galaxy.
The image clearly shows extraordinary detail of the region surrounding the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy. It is approximately 25,000 light-years away. The MeerKAT radio telescope is made up of 64 individual dishes that can easily detect radio waves. Also, They’re built in the semi-desert Karoo region of South Africa and it offers more sensitivity compared to another telescope of its kind.
Image Source: (SARAO)
Now, let’s discuss the picture captured by MeerKAT radio telescope,
The colors in the picture represent the brightness of the radio waves. It will range from red for faint emissions through orange and yellow to white for the strongest emissions. There are various pictures taken of Milky way galaxy, however, never-before-seen features, such as the compact sources of those long, magnetized filaments that come off the central region. Also, It provides a clearer view than ever before of previously known supernova remnants and star-forming regions.
The long and narrow filaments visible in the picture has been discovered in the 1980’s. These are only visible in the central black hole of our galaxy. The origin of these filaments is still a mystery.
“This image is remarkable”, says Farhad Yusef-Zadeh of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, an expert on the filaments. “It could provide the key to cracking the code and solve this three-decade riddle.”
The center of the Milky Way is incredibly hard to photograph because it is constantly enshrouded by clouds of gas and dust making it invisible from Earth using optical telescopes. Also, it lies behind the constellation of Sagittarius. However, radio waves of MeerKAT radio telescope can penetrate this dust, providing a unique view of the region. The telescope’s location in South Africa is also ideal, with the Milky Way passing overhead and visible for almost 12 hours each day.
“We wanted to show the science capabilities of this new instrument”, says Fernando Camilo, chief scientist of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO), which built and operates MeerKAT.
“The center of the galaxy was an obvious target: unique, visually striking and full of unexplained phenomena – but also notoriously hard to image using radio telescopes … Although it’s early days with MeerKAT, and a lot remains to be optimized, we decided to go for it – and were stunned by the results.”
Source: Science Alert