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January 12, 2017

The center of the Milky Way — in radio color


Use the GLEAMoscope to view the GLEAM survey and the sky at wavelengths other than our visible range.

From the New York Times:


This is the real Technicolor sky.

Imagine if you could put on radio goggles to see the clouds of energy billowing from quasars or the lighthouse blasts from pulsars.

Or X-ray visors to see the spitfire from black holes.

Most of the wonders of the universe are invisible to us without technological help.

Visible light rays, after all, are only a small slice of nature's repertoire of electromagnetic radiation, which ranges from tiny high-energy bites of energy called gamma rays to the long, slow, booming rise and swell of radio waves.

Astronomers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, in Perth in Western Australia, have produced what they call the GLEAMoscope to dial up visions of the night sky over Australia in whatever kind of light you prefer.

It is based on an interactive graphic called Chromoscope that was produced at Cardiff University, combining data from a raft of astronomical instruments sensitive to different varieties of electromagnetic radiation.

Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, dominates every frame as an edge-on band of energy.

But using the slider, a viewer can choose to see the dull red glow of hydrogen gas throughout space, the twinkling stars and dust clouds of the visible galaxy, the superhot gas vibrating X-rays, the warm infrared glow of dust clouds, and even the spotty, glowing remnants of the Big Bang itself, manifesting as microwave radiation.

The Australian group has added the results of a new survey of the Southern Sky at very long radio wavelengths, called Gleam for the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-Sky M.W.A.

Carried out by a $50 million telescope known as the Murchison Widefield Array near Geraldton, Australia, it cataloged some 300,000 galaxies, the astronomers said, making it one of the largest radio surveys of the sky ever performed.

January 12, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Catalogued 300,000 GALAXIES! And there are billions more. The scale of the Universe blows my mind.

I remember standing in the desert in Dubai, surrounded by towering dunes, and recalling that there are more stars in the Universe than grains of sand on Earth. Beyond human comprehension...

Posted by: Fred | Jan 13, 2017 5:16:16 AM

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