‘Google Map’ of the universe has a million newly discovered galaxies

  • Astronomers have mapped about a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way.
  • To make the map, referred to as “the Google Map of the Universe,” the team used radio telescopes to scour the night sky.
  • The team surveyed 83% of the sky in just 10 days. 
  • You can take a tour of the 3-D map below. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Astronomers have mapped about a million previously undiscovered galaxies beyond the Milky Way, in the most detailed survey of the southern sky ever carried out using radio waves.

The Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey (or RACS) has placed the CSIRO’s Australian SKA Pathfinder radio telescope (ASKAP) firmly on the international astronomy map.

While past surveys have taken years to complete, ASKAP’s RACS survey was conducted in less than two weeks — smashing previous records for speed. Data gathered have produced images five times more sensitive and twice as detailed as previous ones.

What is radio astronomy?

Modern astronomy is a multi-wavelength enterprise. What do we mean by this?

Well, most objects in the universe (including humans) emit radiation over a broad spectrum, called the electromagnetic spectrum. This includes both visible and invisible light such as X-rays, ultraviolet light, infrared light and radio waves.

To understand the universe, we need to observe the entire electromagnetic spectrum as each wavelength carries different information.

Radio waves have the longest wavelength of all forms of light. They allow us to study some of the most extreme environments in the universe, from cold clouds of gas to supermassive black holes.

Long wavelengths pass through clouds, dust and the atmosphere with ease, but need to be received with large antennas. Australia’s wide open (but relatively low-altitude) spaces are the perfect place to build large radio telescopes.

We have some of the most spectacular views of the centre of the Milky Way from our position in the Southern Hemisphere. Indigenous astronomers have appreciated this benefit for millennia.

A stellar breakthrough

Radio astronomy is a relatively new field of research, dating back to the 1930s.

The first detailed 30cm radio map of the southern sky — which includes everything a telescope can see from its location in the Southern Hemisphere — was Sydney University’s Molonglo Sky Survey. Completed in 2006, this survey took almost a decade to observe 25% of the entire sky and produce final data products.

Our team at CSIRO’s Astronomy and Space Science division has smashed this record by surveying 83% of the sky in just ten days.

With the RACS survey we produced 903 images, each requiring 15 minutes of exposure time. We then combined these into one map covering the entire area.

The resulting panorama of the radio sky will look surprisingly familiar to anyone who has looked up at the night sky themselves. In our photos, however, nearly all the bright points are entire galaxies, rather than individual stars.

Take our virtual tour below.

Astronomers working on the catalogue have identified about three million galaxies — considerably more than

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Scientists just mapped 1 million new galaxies, in 300 hours

Astronomers in Australia have just mapped 83% of the observable universe, in just 300 hours.



a traffic light sitting on the beach: The ASKAP radio telescope array, located in the Australian outback, just mapped 3 million galaxies in less than a month.


© Provided by Live Science
The ASKAP radio telescope array, located in the Australian outback, just mapped 3 million galaxies in less than a month.

This new sky survey, which Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) described in a statement as a “Google map of the universe” , marks the completion of a big test for the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope –- a network of 36 antennas rooted in the remote Western Australia Outback. While astronomers have been using ASKAP to scour the sky for radio signatures (including mysterious fast radio bursts) since 2012, the telescope’s full array of antennas has never been used in a single sky survey –- until now.

By harnessing the telescope’s full potential, researchers mapped roughly 3 million galaxies in the southern sky, according to a paper published Nov. 30 in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. As many as 1 million of these distant galaxies may be previously unknown to astronomy, the researchers wrote, and that’s likely just the beginning. With the success of this first survey, CSIRO scientists are already planning even more in-depth observations in the coming years.

Related: Scientists unveil largest 3D map of the universe ever

“For the first time, ASKAP has flexed its full muscles, building a map of the universe in greater detail than ever before, and at record speed,” lead study author David McConnell, a CSIRO astronomer, said in a statement. “We expect to find tens of millions of new galaxies in future surveys.”

Many all-sky surveys can take months, even years, to complete. CSIRO’s new effort, which they’ve labeled the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, only took a few weeks of stargazing. While each of the telescope’s 36 receivers took vast, panoramic pictures of the sky, a dedicated network of supercomputers worked double-time to combine them. The resulting map, which covers 83% of the sky, is a combination of 903 individual images, each containing 70 billion pixels. (For comparison, the highest-definition cameras for sale snap a few hundred million pixels per image).

Each of these images will be made publicly available through CSIRO’s Data Access Portal, as scientists analyze the results and plan for their next sky-charting adventures.

Originally published on Live Science.

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One million new galaxies found in fastest radio survey of the sky yet

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The most rapid radio survey of the southern sky has been completed by the Australian SKA Pathfinder telescope.


CSIRO

The most detailed and most rapid survey of the southern sky has helped map about a million previously undiscovered galaxies. Using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, scientists from the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have cut the time to complete such an intense survey of space from years to less than two weeks.

In a study, published in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia on Monday, the first results from the CSIRO’s Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey are reported. The agency describes the survey as like a “Google Map” of the universe, providing the most detailed atlas of the southern sky yet. 

The key to the new atlas is ASKAP, which isn’t a single telescope but an array of 36 dish-shaped antennas stationed in the West Australian desert. The array listens for radio waves from deep space and can see a region of the sky about 30 times larger than other, contemporary radio arrays.

Taking over 900 images across about 300 hours, the team was able to stitch together a comprehensive map of the southern sky with a higher resolution than previous surveys. The images contain a total of 70 billion pixels and lurking in the data are 3 million galaxies — a third of which are new to science. 

The map will allow astronomers to study cosmic objects such as supernovas, pulsars and the jets around supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.

“ASKAP is applying the very latest in science and technology to age-old questions about the mysteries of the Universe and equipping astronomers around the world with new breakthroughs to solve their challenges,” Larry Marshall, CSIRO chief executive, said in a news release.

It’s just the beginning of the journey for ASKAP. RACS was conceived almost as a test bed for what ASKAP will try to achieve. Over the next five years, the radio array will begin to conduct ten major surveys of the sky, which will take about 1,500 hours to complete per project. Some of these projects will probe the most mysterious phenomena at the very edge of the universe. 

“We expect to find tens of millions of new galaxies in future surveys,” said David McConnell, astronomer at the CSIRO and lead author on the new study. 

You can take a virtual tour of the impressive map at CSIRO’s website.

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New Australian telescope maps millions of galaxies at record speed

Australian scientists have used a powerful new telescope to map about 3 million galaxies at record-breaking speed — creating what they say is a “Google Map of the universe.”



a group of clouds in the sky: The ASKAP telescope is a collection of dishes across the remote Western Australia desert.


© DRAGONFLY MEDIA
The ASKAP telescope is a collection of dishes across the remote Western Australia desert.

The Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), a radio telescope located in outback Western Australia, mapped the galaxies in just 300 hours, or 12.5 days. This is a significant increase from previous surveys, which have taken years.

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The result is a new atlas of the universe, according to Australian science agency CSIRO, which developed and operates the telescope.

“ASKAP is applying the very latest in science and technology to age-old questions about the mysteries of the universe and equipping astronomers around the world with new breakthroughs to solve their challenges,” said CSIRO CEO Larry Marshall in a statement on Tuesday.

It marks the first time ASKAP has been tested in its entirety. The new map covers 83% of the entire sky and shows our galaxies in unprecedented detail.

Scientists also expect to find tens of millions of new galaxies in future ASKAP surveys, lead author and CSIRO astronomer David McConnell said.

Astronomers around the world will be able to use the new data to “explore the unknown and study everything from star formation to how galaxies and their super-massive black holes evolve and interact,” McConnell added.

The initial results were published Tuesday in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia .

ASKAP is made up of 36 dish antennas, which work together to take panoramic photographs of the sky. The high quality of the telescope’s receivers means the team only needed to combine 903 images to form a full map of the sky — compared to previous surveys, which needed tens of thousands of images.

The new data will enable astronomers to undertake statistical analyses of large population galaxies, aiding their understanding of how the universe evolved and is structured.

“ASKAP is a major technological development that puts our scientists, engineers and industry in the driver’s seat to lead deep space discovery for the next generation,” said Australia’s Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews. “This new survey proves that we are ready to make a giant leap forward in the field of radio astronomy.”

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The ultraviolet glow around some galaxies may come from runaway stars

Hot blue stars kicked out of their cradles may explain a mysterious ultraviolet glow that surrounds the disks of many spiral galaxies.

A new computer simulation demonstrates that these runaway stars can populate the vast expanses beyond a galaxy’s visible disk (SN: 3/23/20). These distant regions have gas that is too warm and tenuous to make new stars, yet young stars nevertheless exist there.

“It’s a big problem for classical star formation theory,” says Eric Andersson, an astrophysicist at Lund Observatory in Sweden.

The mystery of the far-flung young stars has persisted for some time. In 2003, NASA launched the Galaxy Evolution Explorer space telescope, which surprised astronomers by discovering diffuse far-ultraviolet light in the hinterlands of nearby spiral and irregular galaxies (SN: 2/15/05). Unlike ordinary ultraviolet radiation, far-ultraviolet light has such a short wavelength that most of it doesn’t penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere.

Stars that emit profuse amounts of this energetic radiation are hot, blue and usually much more massive than the sun. These stars don’t live long, so they must have formed recently. But the gas on the galactic outskirts isn’t cold and dense enough to collapse and create new stars.

Andersson and his colleagues propose a solution to the paradox: Many of these far-out far-ultraviolet-emitting stars weren’t born where they are now. Instead, they arose closer to the galaxy’s center and ran away from their homes.

The researchers conducted a computer simulation to model the motion of massive stars in a spiral galaxy. Some of the runaway stars in the simulation dart across thousands of light-years of space to take up residence beyond the visible edge of the galaxy’s disk, thereby explaining the far-ultraviolet light there, the researchers report online at arXiv.org on October 22.

The Milky Way has many of these runaway stars. A star can become a runaway when other massive stars fling it away through their gravity. Or, if the star orbits close to a massive star that explodes, the surviving star races away at the same speed it had been dashing around its companion. Most runaway stars are hot and blue, radiating just the type of far-ultraviolet light seen beyond the visible edges of galactic disks.

Mark Krumholz, an astronomer at the Australian National University in Canberra, calls the idea “a plausible explanation.” He also offers a way to test it: by exploiting the properties of different types of massive stars.

The rarest and most massive blue stars are so hot they ionize hydrogen gas, causing it to emit red light as electrons settle back into position around protons. But these very massive stars don’t live long, so any that reside on a galaxy’s outskirts must have been born there. After all, the stars didn’t have time to travel from elsewhere in the galaxy during their brief lives.

In contrast, less massive blue stars live longer and therefore

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Heat Is Building Up In Galaxies Across The Universe [Infographic]

New research from Johns Hopkins University shows that the galaxies of the universe are getting hotter. The universe was created somewhere around 13 billion years ago and since that time planets, solar systems, and galaxies were formed out of the super-heated material that exploded forth from the big bang. It would be an easy assumption to think that since that time everything has just been cooling off and calming down, however, this new research shows that is just not the case. The universe may have been cooling off for the first 3 billion years but over the last 10 billion the galaxies of the universe have been heating up.

How do we know?

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University looked back at two decades worth of data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the ESA’s Planck Mission to measure the temperature of galaxies in the universe. They discovered that the average temp of galaxy clusters today is about 4 million degrees Fahrenheit. Which is about 4 times hotter than the Sun’s corona. Furthermore, over the last 10 billion years the average temperature has increase by about 10 times. The gain in heat is the result of gases being pulled into the galaxies by gravity. Which sounds simple enough, but this drag is so powerful that the effect is similar to meteoroids hitting Earth’s atmosphere. As gravity pulls them downward they burn up and often disintegrate.

“We have measured temperatures throughout the history of the universe,” said Brice Menard, a Johns Hopkins professor of physics and astronomy. “As time has gone on, all those clusters of galaxies are getting hotter and hotter because their gravity pulls more and more gas toward them.”

In order to make this discover Yi-Kaun Chiang, a post-doctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins and Brice Menard, a Johns Hopkins professor of physics and astronomy had to develop a new technique. Using this technique, they were able to estimate the redshift of gas concentrations in microwave images. The “redshift” is the lengthening of light waves as they get older. To put it another way, the longer the wavelength the older the light wave. Using this information, they were about to collect data from these gas concentrations from up to 10 billion years ago. From that information they could see that over time the gases were becoming more concentrated and adding heat to the galaxies.

You can learn more about this discovery and their findings in the Astrophysical Journal.

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NASA celebrates Hubble-ween with grinning ‘Greater Pumpkins’ galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope caught two galaxies in the act of colliding. Their orange color earned them the nickname “Greater Pumpkin.”


NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)

The It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown animated Peanuts special might not be airing on broadcast TV this year, but you can look to the cosmos for your giant pumpkin Halloween fix. The Hubble Space Telescope spied a pair of galaxies that could pass as a space jack-o’-lantern. 

Hubble — a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency — snapped a spooky view of two galaxies colliding, and it reminded NASA of the Peanuts pumpkin, so it earned the nickname “Greater Pumpkin.” 

“‘Great’ is an understatement in this case because the galaxy pair spans 100,000 light-years,” NASA said in a statement on Thursday. “The ‘pumpkin’s’ glowing ‘eyes’ are the bright, star-filled cores of each galaxy that contain supermassive black holes.” NASA pointed out the smile-like formation of stars that curves underneath the pair. 

The orange-ish color comes from red stars. The galaxies, officially named NGC  2292 and NGC  2293, are still in the process of their slo-mo collision. The duo may end up forming a giant spiral galaxy. 

The galaxies are located in the Canis Major constellation at a distance of 120 million light-years away from us. 

While the Greater Pumpkin nickname is a good fit, fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas might notice a strong resemblance to another famous Halloween character: Jack Skellington.

See also: How to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for free online

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Hubble telescope gets Halloween-y with grinning ‘Greater Pumpkin’ galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope caught two galaxies in the act of colliding. Their orange color earned them the nickname “Greater Pumpkin.”


NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)

The It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown animated Peanuts special might not be on broadcast TV this year, but you can look to the cosmos for your giant pumpkin Halloween fix. The Hubble Space Telescope spied a pair of galaxies that could pass as a space jack-o’-lantern. 

Hubble — a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency — snapped a spooky view of two galaxies colliding, and it reminded NASA of the Peanuts pumpkin, so it earned the nickname “Greater Pumpkin.” 

“‘Great’ is an understatement in this case because the galaxy pair spans 100,000 light-years,” NASA said in a statement on Thursday. “The ‘pumpkin’s’ glowing ‘eyes’ are the bright, star-filled cores of each galaxy that contain supermassive black holes.” NASA pointed out the smile-like formation of stars that curves underneath the pair. 

The orange-ish color comes from red stars. The galaxies, officially named NGC  2292 and NGC  2293, are still in the process of their slo-mo collision. The duo may end up forming a giant spiral galaxy. 

The galaxies are located in the Canis Major constellation at a distance of 120 million light-years away from us. 

While the Greater Pumpkin nickname is a good fit, fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas might notice a strong resemblance to another famous Halloween character: Jack Skellington.

See also: How to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for free online

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Hubble gets Halloween-y with grinning ‘Greater Pumpkin’ galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope caught two galaxies in the act of colliding. Their orange color earned them the nickname “Greater Pumpkin.”


NASA, ESA, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)

The It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown animated Peanuts special might not be on broadcast TV this year, but you can instead look to the cosmos for your giant pumpkin fix for Halloween. The Hubble Space Telescope spied a pair of galaxies that could pass as a space jack-o’-lantern. 

Hubble — a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency — snapped a spooky view of two galaxies colliding, and it reminded NASA of the Peanuts pumpkin, so it earned the nickname “Greater Pumpkin.” 

“‘Great’ is an understatement in this case because the galaxy pair spans 100,000 light-years,” NASA said in a statement on Thursday. “The ‘pumpkin’s’ glowing ‘eyes’ are the bright, star-filled cores of each galaxy that contain supermassive black holes.” NASA pointed out the smile-like formation of stars that curves underneath the pair. 

The orange-ish color comes from red stars. The galaxies, officially named NGC  2292 and NGC  2293, are still in the process of their slo-mo collision. The duo may end up forming a giant spiral galaxy. 

The galaxies are located in the Canis Major constellation at a distance of 120 million light-years away from us. 

While the Greater Pumpkin nickname is a good fit, fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas might notice a strong resemblance to another famous Halloween character: Jack Skellington.

See also: How to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for free online

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The Grantecan finds the farthest black hole that belongs to a rare family of galaxies

The Grantecan finds the farthest black hole that belongs to a rare family of galaxies
Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are extremely rare. As matter falls toward the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center, some of it is accelerated outward at nearly the speed of light along jets pointed in opposite directions. When one of the jets happens to be aimed in the direction of Earth, as illustrated here, the galaxy appears especially bright and is classified as a blazar. Credit: M. Weiss/CfA

An international team of astronomers has identified one of the rarest known classes of gamma-ray emitting galaxies, called BL Lacertae, within the first 2 billion years of the age of the Universe. The team, that has used one of the largest optical telescope in the world, Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), located at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Garafía, La Palma), consists of researchers from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM, Spain), DESY (Germany), University of California Riverside and Clemson University (USA). Their finding is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Only a small fraction of galaxies emits gamma rays, which are the most extreme form of light. Astronomers believe that these highly energetic photons originate from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole residing at the centers of these galaxies. When this happens, they are known as active galaxies. The black hole swallows matter from its surroundings and emits jets or, in other words, collimated streams of matter and radiation. Few of these active galaxies (less than 1%) have their jets pointing by chance toward Earth. Scientists call them blazars and are one of the most powerful sources of radiation in the universe.

Blazars come in two flavors: BL Lacertae (BL Lac) and flat-spectrum radio-quasars (FSRQs). Our current understanding about these mysterious astronomical objects is that FSRQs are relatively young active galaxies, rich in dust and gas that surround the central black hole. As time passes, the amount of matter available to feed the black hole is consumed and the FSRQ evolves to become a BL Lac object. “In other words, BL Lacs may represent the elderly and evolved phase of a blazar’s life, while FSRQs resemble an adult,” explains Vaidehi Paliya, a DESY researcher who participated in this program.

“Since the speed of light is limited, the farther we look, the earlier in the age of the Universe we investigate,” says Alberto Domínguez of the Institute of Physics of Particles and the Cosmos (IPARCOS) at UCM and co-author of the study. Astronomers believe that the current age of the Universe is around 13.8 billion years. The most distant FSRQ was identified at a distance when the age of the universe was merely 1 billion years. For a comparison, the farthest BL Lac that is known was found when the age of the Universe was around 2.5 billion years. Therefore, the hypothesis of the evolution from FSRQ to BL Lacs appears to be valid.

Now, the team of international scientists has discovered a new BL Lac object, named 4FGL J1219.0+3653, much farther away than the previous record holder. “We

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