Supernova ghosts detected in the most detailed radio image of the Milky Way
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains many mysteries. One of the questions astronomers have been stumbling over is, “Where are all the supernova remnants?” We may now have an answer, thanks to careful observations from a pair of radio telescopes in Australia.
In a statement released on Monday, Macquarie University described Presenting the newly released Milky Way as “the most detailed radio image yet of our galaxy”. The image – which shows regions of star birth and star death outcomes – is a combination of observations from the Askap radio telescope and the Parkes radio telescope, both operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.
A supernova is a spectacular explosion that marks the end of a star’s life. Astronomers have made predictions about how many supernova remnants the Milky Way should contain, but we haven’t yet caught as many as expected. The Radio Telescope team’s work is revealing where some of these previously hidden remnants are hiding.
radio telescopes picking up radio waves. Compare that to a telescope like the Hubble, which mainly sees visible light. Or with Webb, which uses infrared. They are different ways of “seeing” the universe.
“This new image shows a region of the Milky Way, visible only to radio telescopes, where we can see an associated extended emission of hydrogen gas filling the space between dying stars, associated with the birth of new stars, and hot gas bubbles called supernovae,” said the Macquarie University astronomer. Andrew Hopkins The full image shows the remnants of 28 supernovae, of which only seven have been previously identified.
The new image is just the beginning of the search for faint ghosts of supernovae. “It is estimated that there may be about 1,500 supernova remnants in the galaxy that astronomers have yet to discover,” Hopkins said. “Finding the missing remnants will help us discover more understanding of our galaxy and its history.”