The European Lofer Radio Telescope has captured the most detailed images yet of galaxies outside our Milky Way. The Netherlands Astronomy Institute reports for radio astronomy this week.
Pictures were taken by LofarThe radio telescope, which consists of a network of more than 70,000 antennas spread over nine European countries. The core of this network is located in Exloo in the Netherlands. Astron writes that the antennas are connected to each other via a fiber-optic connection Blog post.
Using signals from all 70,000 antennas, Lofar forms a kind of “virtual telescope” with a lens with a diameter of 2,000 kilometers, according to Astron. Usually, only signals from Dutch antennas were used, which were good for a diameter of 120 km. As a result, the resolution of the resulting images has become about twenty times higher than before. Each antenna collects its own data, which is then digitized and sent to a central processor. This processor processes and combines data to create images of galaxies.
Pictures Via Astro
Astron talking about big Arithmetic The challenge, because for each image the data from 70,000 antennas must be combined. For this, according to Astron, more than 13 TB / s of raw data must be digitized and sent to the central processor. Supercomputers are used for this, which enables the institute to turn terabytes of data into science-ready data of no more than a few gigabytes in a few days.
New images from the Lofar Network show, among other things, large black holes at the core of many galaxies in more detail than before. Those black holes are eating up in the fall matter and emits it as radiation that cannot be seen with the naked eye, but it burns badly in radio waves. The high-resolution images allow the Astron researchers to zoom in on these black holes and get a better look at what happens when black holes fire radio jets.