A global team of astronomers have published a significant new radio sky survey, revealing hundreds of thousands of previously undiscovered galaxies.
These mysterious new galaxies were unearthed using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope, with 300,000 newly revealed light sources believed to be emitting from faraway galaxies.
Based in the Netherlands, the LOFAR telescope is capable of detecting light source beyond the power of optical instruments, with radio astronomy allowing astronomers to detect radiation produced by the interaction of colossal celestial objects.
Over 200 scientists from 18 different countries collectively partook in the awe inspiring study, using radio astronomy to analyse a section of sky above the northern hemisphere.
The radio signals in question are said to have travelled billions of light years before reaching Earth.
Amanda Wilber from Germany’s University of Hamburg made the following statement in a press release from the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy:
With radio observations we can detect radiation from the tenuous medium that exists between galaxies. This radiation is generated by energetic shocks and turbulence.
LOFAR allows us to detect many more of these sources and understand what is powering them.
Annalisa Bonafede, from Italy’s University of Bologna, added:
What we are beginning to see with LOFAR is that, in some cases, clusters of galaxies that are not merging can also show this emission, albeit at a very low level that was previously undetectable.
This discovery tells us that, besides merger events, there are other phenomena that can trigger particle acceleration over huge scales.
It is believed these findings will help shed fresh light on various research areas. This includes the physics of black holes as well as research into how galaxy clusters evolve
Astronomer from the Paris Observatory, Cyril Tasse, told AFP:
This is a new window on the universe.
When we saw the first images we were like: ‘What is this?!’ It didn’t look anything at all like what we are used to seeing.
Speaking about how radio astronomy could help with observing black holes going forward, Tasse added:
If you look at an active black hole, the jets (of radiation) disappear after millions of years, and you won’t see them at a higher frequency (of light),
But at a lower frequency they continue to emit these jets for hundreds of millions of years, so we can see far older electrons.
— Patrick Galey🦖 (@patrickgaley) February 19, 2019
so scientists just casually uncovered 300,000 new galaxies pic.twitter.com/VeGbzew6Dm
— 𝐚𝐛𝐛𝐢𝐞 🌿🐜🐞 (@abbiekorn) February 19, 2019
Big sky survey by @LOFAR has detected hundreds of thousands of previously undetected galaxies, shedding new light on black holes & how clusters of galaxies evolve. The first 26 articles have just been published in @AandA_journal https://t.co/CjsG9silrJ pic.twitter.com/9qWvGLV3tK
— Low Frequency Array (@LOFAR) February 19, 2019
The universe as we know it looks to be far more vast than we could ever have imagined. Dizzying stuff, and enough to make you feel very small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I think I need a lie down…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.