A new image of the centre of the Milky Way has been revealed by the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope in Australia.
The radio telescope has produced an image which ranges in colours from red to blue, with the huge golden filaments indicating enormous magnetic fields.
Supernova remnants – the gaseous expanses left behind after stars explode – are visible as little spherical bubbles, while regions of massive star formation show up in blue.
There is also a supermassive black hole – known as Sagittarius A* – at the centre of our galaxy, but it is hidden by the bright white region in the centre of the image.
Some astrophysicists even believe that there are about 10,000 smaller black holes surrounding the supermassive one.
These are very difficult to detect however behind the powerful radiation of astronomical objects between the very centre of the galaxy and Earth.
Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker, from Curtin University, said: “This new view captures low-frequency radio emission from our galaxy, looking both in fine detail and at larger structures.
“Our images are looking directly at the middle of the Milky Way, towards a region astronomers call the galactic centre,” added Dr Hurley-Walker.
Conducted as part of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, the images were created from MWA data using a supercomputer based in Perth.
This data covered a wide range of radio frequencies, which enabled the scientists to disentangle different overlapping objects as they observed the complexities of the centre of our galaxy.
Dr Hurley-Walker said that two of the supernova remnants were “orphans” because they found in a region of sky where there are no massive stars.
This suggested that future searches across other similar regions without any massive stars could also yield supernova remnants.
“This is really exciting for us, because it’s hard to find supernova remnants in this phase of life-they allow us to look further back in time in the Milky Way.”
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