A new view of our Milky Way


Outback telescope captures low-frequency radio emission.


Natasha Hurley-Walker (ICRAR/Curtin) / GLEAM.

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope in outback Western Australia captured this spectacular new view of the Milky Way, showing what our galaxy would look like if human eyes could see radio waves.

Astrophysicist Natasha Hurley-Walker, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), created it using the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth.

Data came from the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA survey (GLEAM). The survey has a resolution of two arcminutes (about the same as the human eye) and maps the sky using radio waves at frequencies between 72 and 231 MHz (FM radio is near 100 MHz).

“This new view captures low-frequency radio emission from our galaxy, looking both in fine detail and at larger structures,” Hurley-Walker says. “Our images are looking directly at the middle of the Milky Way, towards a region astronomers call the galactic centre.”

In the image above, lowest frequencies are in red, middle in green, and highest in blue. Huge golden filaments indicate enormous magnetic fields, supernova remnants are visible as little spherical bubbles, and regions of massive star formation show up in blue.

The supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy is hidden in the bright white region in the centre.

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  1. http://www.mwatelescope.org/gleam
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