May 24, 2022

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They hang about a thousand threads in space up to 150 light years long in the center of the Milky Way.

Published:

27 ene 2022 19:56 GMT

Combining a mosaic of 20 individual observations from the MeerKAT telescope, the astronomers were able to create an image of the center of our galaxy with unprecedented clarity and detail, revealing the ‘texts’.

A new image of the center of the Milky Way reveals nearly a thousand one-dimensional strands (or strands) hanging indescribably in space. With Length up to 150 light yearsThese ‘texts’ are found in pairs and groups, often stacked at equal distances, like strings of a harp, according to a team of scientists in a study, Published Accepted this Wednesday by the arXiv Preprint Service and The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Farhat Youssef-Zadeh, a professor of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University, discovered highly organized magnetic field in the early 1980s, using observations of radio wavelengths. Made up of electrons from cosmic rays They rotate in a magnetic field at speeds close to the speed of light. However, its origin remains an unsolved mystery.

Currently, a new image taken by the South African Radio Astronomical Observatory (SARAO)’s MeerKAT telescope has come to light. 10 times more fibers than previously discoveredWhich for the first time allowed scientists to conduct statistical studies on a large number of fibers.

“We’ve been researching individual fibers with a myopic view for a long time.” He said Youssef-Zadeh, principal author of the study. “We finally see the whole picture: A wide view with lots of threads. Examining a few threads makes it difficult to make real conclusions about what they are and where they came from. This marks a turning point in improving our understanding of these structures, “he added.

How was the film created?

To create the image with unprecedented clarity and detail, astronomers He spent three years observing the sky and analyzing data from SARAO. Using 200 hours using the MeerKAT telescope, the researchers put together a mosaic of 20 separate observations from different segments of the sky toward the center of the Milky Way, 25,000 light-years away. Ian Heywood, an astronomer at the University of Oxford in the UK and co-author of the study, said: “I spent a lot of time watching this film, and I never got tired.

To see the fibers at a microscopic level, Youssef-Zadeh’s team used a technique to isolate these ‘fibers’ from the surrounding structures and remove the background from the main image. “It’s like modern artThe researcher said, “These pictures are so beautiful and rich, and the mystery of it makes it even more interesting.”

What do you know about fibers?

The researchers hope the fibers will be related Past function of the black hole The center of the Milky Way is larger than the integrated supernova eruptions. The fibers can be connected to large radio emission bubbles, as Youssef-Zadeh and his collaborators discovered in 2019.

Scientists say the mysterious 1,000-light-year bubble orbiting the Earth is the origin of all nearby young stars.

Researchers are baffled by the remaining mysteries, especially the structure of the fibers. The fibers within the clusters are separated at exactly equal distances from each other, approximately the distance from the earth to the sun. “We still do not know why they come in groups or how they divide, And we do not know how these regular breaks are produced. Every time we answer a question, many questions arise, ”said Yusuf-Sade.

Also, it is not known whether the fibers move or change over time or what causes the electrons to accelerate to incredible speeds. “How do electrons accelerate near the speed of light?” He asked. “One idea is that some evidence at the end of these strands accelerates these particles.”

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