Scientists are now in the possession of what they claim to be the clearest image of the center of our galaxy taken with the aid of the newest telescope located in South Africa.
This new radio telescope, the MeerKAT, is the property of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) and is operated from the country’s Northern Cape.
The image shows a huge black hole right at the center of the Milky Way, which is about 25,000 light years away from Earth. The black hole is hidden behind clouds of dust and gas and cannot be captured by common telescopes.
In a recent statement to the press, head scientist of SARAO Fernando Camilo said: “We wanted to show the science the capabilities of this new instrument.” “The center of the galaxy was an obvious target: unique, visually striking and full of unexplained phenomena — but also notoriously hard to image using radio telescopes”, continued the scientist.
It took scientists ten years to build this telescope, but now they have an excellent image of a sector measuring approximately 1,000 light years by 500 light years..
The colors in the image range from red to orange, yellow and white and they are directly linked to how bright the radio waves are. Red stands for weak radio emissions, and orange, yellow and white for the strong waves.
An interesting detail noticed in the image is the presence of some magnetized filaments that can be seen close to the black hole at the center. These filaments cannot be found anywhere else in the galaxy and the scientists say they were first discovered in 1980.
Farhad Yusef-Zadeh, leading expert in the Milky Way and scientist in the department of physics and astronomy at Northwestern University says “The MeerKAT image has such clarity it shows so many features never before seen, including compact sources associated with some of the filaments.”
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca