Scanning via data refreshing off the telescope, we observed two ghosts dancing deep in the cosmos. We experienced never noticed anything at all like it prior to, and we experienced no idea what they ended up.
Several weeks later on, we had figured out we ended up looking at two radio galaxies, about a billion light decades away. In the heart of just about every one is a supermassive black hole, squirting out jets of electrons that are bent into grotesque designs by an intergalactic wind.
But in which does the intergalactic wind occur from? Why is it so tangled? And what is causing the streams of radio emission? We nonetheless really don’t fully grasp the aspects of what is heading on listed here, and it will likely take lots of extra observations and modeling prior to we do.
We are having applied to surprises as we scan the skies in the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) job, working with CSIRO’s new Australian Sq. Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a radio telescope that probes further into the Universe than any other. When you boldly go where by no telescope has absent prior to, you are very likely to make new discoveries.
A deep search returns lots of surprises
The Dancing Ghosts have been just a person of several surprises uncovered in our very first deep lookup of the sky working with ASKAP. This search, known as the EMU Pilot Study, is explained in detail in a paper soon to look in the Publications of the Astronomical Modern society of Australia.
The to start with large shock from the EMU Pilot Study was the discovery of mysterious Odd Radio Circle (ORCs), which seem to be big rings of radio emission, virtually a million gentle decades throughout, bordering distant galaxies.
These had under no circumstances been observed right before for the reason that they are so exceptional and faint. We still do not know what they are, but we are operating furiously to locate out.
We are acquiring surprises even in places we believed we recognized. Following doorway to the very well-analyzed galaxy IC5063, we discovered a large radio galaxy, a person of the most significant regarded, whose existence had never ever even been suspected.
This new galaxy also consists of a supermassive black gap, squirting out jets of electrons approximately 5 million light yrs extensive. ASKAP is the only telescope in the entire world that can see the whole extent of this faint emission.
What EMU can do
Most recognised sources of radio emissions are caused by supermassive black holes in quasars and lively galaxies, which make extremely vivid indicators. This is because radio telescopes have generally struggled to see the a lot fainter radio emission from normal spiral galaxies like our personal Milky Way.
The EMU undertaking goes deep sufficient to see them way too. EMU sees almost all the spiral galaxies in the close by Universe that were formerly noticed only by optical and infrared telescopes.
EMU can even trace the spiral arms in the nearest kinds. EMU will enable us realize the delivery of new stars in these galaxies.
These some of the to start with outcomes the EMU project, which we commenced in 2009. The EMU staff of extra than 400 researchers in much more than 20 international locations has invested the earlier 12 a long time planning the challenge, developing methods, creating software, and doing the job with the CSIRO engineers who were being developing the telescope. It has been a lengthy haul, but we are at past viewing the awesome knowledge we have dreamed of for so long.
But this is only the start out. Above the next number of several years, EMU will use the ASKAP telescope to investigate even deeper in the Universe, building on these discoveries and getting much more. All the data from EMU will ultimately be put in the public domain, so that astronomers from about the globe can mine the information and make new discoveries.
But don’t get my word for it. You can already use EMU Pilot Study details to explore the radio sky you, working with the zoomable image on our site.
Use your mouse wheel to zoom in from the major photo down to the best facts, and see what you find. Potentially you might even find something there that the astronomers have missed.
Write-up by Ray Norris, Professor, Faculty of Science, Western Sydney University
This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Study the primary article.