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Astronomers discover thousands of galaxies in the process of forming stars, today, Friday, April 9, 2021 2:00 pm
To produce the images, more than four petabytes of raw data, equivalent to about a million DVDs, were captured and processed. “When we look at the sky with a radio telescope, the brightest objects we see are caused by black holes,” said Philip Best of the University of Edinburgh, who led the deep scan. And yet our images are so deep that most of the objects in them are galaxies like our Milky Way, which emit faint radio waves that track continuous star formation. ”He continued,“ We have enabled the combination of the high sensitivity of LOFAR and the wide area of the sky. Covered by our survey, about 300 times the size of a full moon, from the discovery of tens of thousands of galaxies like the Milky Way, far into the vast universe. ”
He added, “The light emitted from these galaxies travels for billions of years to reach the Earth, and this means that we see galaxies as they were billions of years ago, when they were forming most of their stars.” The formation of stars is usually surrounded by dust, which obscures our vision when we look with optical telescopes, but radio waves penetrate the dust, so using LOFAR we get a complete picture of star formation. ”LOFAR is operated by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, and all participate in this project. From the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
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