Astronomers in Australia mapped 83% of the visible universe in just 300 hours.
This new sky survey, conducted by the Australian National Science Agency (CSIRO) Described in a statement As a “Google Map of the Universe” , Indicates the completion of a major test of the Australian Radio Telescope Pathfinder Array (ASKAP) – a network of 36 antennas rooted in the remote Western Australian region. While astronomers were using ASKAP to search the sky for radio signatures (including occult ones Fast radio burstsSince 2012, the telescope’s full array of antennas has not been used in a single sky survey – yet.
By harnessing the telescope’s full potential, researchers have mapped nearly 3 million galaxies in the southern sky, according to a paper published Nov.30 in the journal. Publications of the Australian Astronomical Society. The researchers wrote that as many as a million of these distant galaxies may have previously been unknown to astronomy, and this is likely just the beginning. With this first survey successful, CSIRO scientists are already planning more in-depth observations in the coming years.
“For the first time, ASKAP is flexing its full muscles, building a map of the universe in greater detail than ever before, and at record speed,” said lead study author David McConnell, a CSIRO astronomer, He said in a statement. “We expect to find tens of millions of new galaxies in future surveys.”
Many surveys in the sky can take months or even years to complete. The new CSIRO effort, which they called the Rapid ASKAP Continuum Survey, took only a few weeks of stargazing. While each of the 36 telescope receivers captured wide panoramic images of the sky, a dedicated network of supercomputers worked twice to combine them. The resulting map, which covers 83% of the sky, is a mixture of 903 individual images, each containing 70 billion pixels. (For comparison, the high-resolution cameras on sale take a few hundred million pixels per image.)
Each of these images will be made publicly available through CSIRO’s data access portal, where scientists analyze results and plan their next adventures to map the sky.
Originally published on Live Science.