Milky Way star cemetery revealed in new detailed space observation

A new, clear image of the Milky Way has revealed a galaxy “graveyard” containing the remains of about two dozen exploding stars.

These remnants are an expanding cloud of gas and dust that marks the final stage of a star’s life after it explodes in a supernova.

While previous studies have estimated five times more stellar remnants than currently observed, researchers, including Andrew Hopkins of Macquarie University in Australia, say the number observed using radio telescopes is “very low.”

The new research, yet to be published, combined observations made by Australia’s ASKAP radio telescope and the Parkes radio telescope Murriyang to shed more light on dead stars.

Researchers have found “twigs and clustered clouds” in the space between some stars in the Milky Way, suggesting that there are indeed more supernova remnants.

The new image, showing the birth and death places of stars, is the most detailed radio image of our galaxy ever, according to scientists.

It has uncovered about 20 new possible stellar remnants, while only seven were previously known.

Professor Andrew Hopkins, one of the project’s lead scientists at Macquarie University in Australia, says the image shows the galactic plane “in the finest detail ever”.

It shows a region of the Milky Way where there is “extended emission associated with the birth of new stars, bubbles of hot gas called supernova remnants and hydrogen gas filling the space between dying stars.”

“In this small patch alone, we have discovered more than 20 new possible supernova remnants, only about one percent of the entire Milky Way, of which only seven were previously known,” Dr Hopkins wrote in The Conversation.

The unprecedented detailed observations made in the study were made possible by combining data from different telescopes.

Australia’s ASKAP radio telescope consists of 36 relatively small dishes, each 12 m wide, mimicking a single large telescope with a 6 km wide dish.

Despite having good resolution, the researchers say it misses radio emissions from star regions on the largest scales.

So scientists joined forces with another project called Pegasus, led by Ettore Carretti of Italy’s National Institute of Astrophysics.

This project uses the Parkes/Murriyang telescope, one of the world’s largest single-dish radio telescopes.

Brianna Ball, a PhD student at Canada’s University of Alberta, led the study with her advisor Roland Kothes.

They combined the Pegasus map with the map of the Australian teams that uncovered stellar remnants in the Milky Way with “extremely high precision and accuracy”.

Using the approach to create high-quality images of the sky, scientists believe astronomers can solidify their understanding of the Galaxy and beyond with future observations.

“The final results will be an unprecedented view of almost the entire Milky Way, about a hundred times larger than this first image, but with the same level of detail and precision,” said Dr Hopkins.

“It is estimated that there may be about 1500 supernova remnants in the galaxy, which astronomers have not yet discovered. “Finding lost relics will help us better understand our galaxy and its history,” he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *