Thursday, July 29, 2021

This is the most detailed image of the Andromeda Galaxy ever made via radio!!

In a new study, published in Astronomy and Astrophysics, scientists reveal the most detailed radio image to date of our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. The new observation, made by the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT), located in Italy, allowed astronomers to identify and study regions where new stars form — even contributing to the understanding of our own galaxy, the Via Milky Way. 

What kind of galaxy will emerge from the merger of the Milky Way and Andromeda?

 Over 12 billion years old, this is the oldest spiral galaxy ever seen. Detailed Andromeda Image Shows Power of Next NASA Telescope The study, led by physicist Sofia Fatigoni of the University of British Columbia (UBC), is the first to create a radio image of Andromeda at the microwave frequency of 6.6 GHz.

 “This image will allow us to study the structure of Andromeda and its content in more detail than has ever been possible,” said Fatigoni. Physics has also pointed out that understanding the nature of the physical processes that take place in Andromeda helps to understand what happens within our own galaxy. In addition to the richness of detail, the new image offers a broad view of the region around Andromeda.

 At the frequency of 6.6 GHz, radio transmission is very weak, hence the difficulty in making a record like this. However, only in this range is it possible to observe particular characteristics and understand the dynamics of the neighboring galaxy. In all, the researchers spent 66 hours mapping the sky with the 64-meter-diameter radio telescope. From those analyzed, Fatigoni and his team were able to estimate the rate of star formation inside Andromeda and, with that, produce a detailed map, highlighting the “galaxy disk” as the region in which new stars form. 

“By combining this new image with those acquired previously, we have taken significant steps in clarifying the nature of microwave emissions from Andromeda”, pointed out Elia Battistelli, professor at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" and co-author of the article. To identify the weak radio sources emitted by Andromeda, the team also developed and implemented software, where they tested new algorithms to make this mapping process more accurate. The new map cataloged about 100 “point sources” in addition to stars, galaxies and other objects in deep space.

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