Astronomers complete first-stage radio sky survey with Lofar telescope

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A group of two hundred astronomers have published the results of the first phase of research of the Lofar radio telescope. That telescope, which is operated by Astron in Exloo in Drenthe, has measured a quarter of the northern sky.

Ten percent of the data generated by the measurements in the radio sky has now been examined. Based on these analyses, the international team of some two hundred astronomers has produced twenty-six scientific articles. These have now been published in the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Lofar’s view of the radio sky has revealed the existence of hundreds of thousands of previously unknown galaxies and has provided new information about, for example, the evolution of galaxies and black holes. Further research can help answer questions about the origin of black holes and cosmic magnetic fields, among other things.

Lofar stands for Low Frequency Array and it is a network of more than one hundred thousand antennas, spread across Europe, that act as a single radio telescope. The antennas receive radio waves between 110 and 250MHz and between 10 and 90MHz. The telescope is sensitive enough to pick up radio waves, for example, that arise when two galaxies converge.

“With Lofar, we now see that in some cases clusters of galaxies that don’t converge are also emitting these waves, but at a much lower level than we could detect before. That tells us that there are other phenomena that are also accelerating particles on a large scale. ”, reports Annalisa Bonafede, of the Italian University of Bologna.

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