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The ghosts of supernovas are visible in the most detailed radio image of our galaxy –

Our Milky Way galaxy holds many mysteries. One of the questions that plagues astronomers is: “Where are all the supernova remnants?” Careful observations made by a pair of radio telescopes in Australia give rise to an answer.

Macquarie University announces that it has produced “the most detailed radio image ever taken by our galaxy.” The image, which shows star birth zones and the consequences of their death, is a combination of observations from the Askap and Parkes radio telescopes operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

A supernova is an explosion that marks the end of a star’s life. Astronomers have made predictions about how many supernova remnants the Milky Way should contain, but we haven’t yet found as many as we thought. The work of the radio telescope duo reveals where some of these hitherto unseen remains hid.

The remnants of 28 supernovae in our Milky Way

Radio telescopes pick up radio waves. A telescope like the Hubble sees mostly visible light, while James-Webb uses infrared. These are different and complementary ways to “see” the universe.

The full image from the radio telescope shows 28 supernovae, according to CSIRO. Only seven have previously been found. R. Kotes (NRC) and the Pegasus team

“This new image highlights a region of the Milky Way visible only to radio telescopes, where we can see extended radiation associated with hydrogen gas filling the space between dying stars associated with new star birth and bubbles of hot gas called supernova remnants. ”, says Andrew Hopkins, an astronomer at Macquarie University. The full image shows the remnants of 28 supernovae. Only seven of them have been previously identified.

This new image is just the start of a big hunt for supernova ghosts. “It is estimated that there may be about 1,500 other supernova remnants in the galaxy that astronomers have not yet discovered,” says Andrew Hopkins. “The discovery of these remains will help us better understand our galaxy and its history. »

CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance

Image: R. Kotes (NRC) and the Pegasus team

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