Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An atlas of the Milky Way

31.08.2011
Sino-German research group draws a new map at the Urumqi radio telescope and discovers two supernova remnants

It may not be much use to hitchhikers through the galaxy, but it is extremely valuable to astronomers: the new radio atlas of the Milky Way. After almost ten years of work, researchers at the Max Planck Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have completed their investigation into the polarised radio emission in the galactic plane. The atlas is based on observations undertaken with the 25-metre radio telescope in the Chinese city of Urumqi and shows an area of 2,200 square degrees of the sky.

The radio survey covers the northern band of the Milky Way between ten and 230 degrees galactic longitude and between minus five and plus five degrees galactic latitude. The comprehensive survey shows the polarised radio emission of our galaxy at five gigahertz (corresponding to a wavelength of six centimetres) and thus at the highest frequency every recorded by terrestrial instruments.

The interstellar medium of the Milky Way comprises magnetic fields, electrons, atomic gas and other components which affect the polarisation plane of the radio emission. The Partner Group of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, which was set up at the National Astronomical Observatory (NAO) in Beijing, investigated the properties of regions of large-scale diffuse emission and mapped the structure of large objects which cannot be observed by larger radio telescopes. These include densely ionised clouds – the HII regions – and the remnants of exploded stars.

The aim of the project was to map the large-scale magnetic field of the Milky Way. The German and Chinese researchers found a handful of peculiar clumps with very strong, regular magnetic fields (Faraday screens) and two new supernova remnants each measuring around one degree. These are the first sources of this type to be discovered with a Chinese radio telescope; astronomers are currently only aware of 270 such objects in the Milky Way. The researchers were also able to classify two incorrectly identified supernova remnants as thermal radio sources.

The new atlas needed more than 4,500 hours of observations to compile, and its angular resolution is similar to that of the 21-cm wavelength survey of the Milky Way obtained at the 100-metre radio telescope at Effelsberg. The comparative analysis of these two large-scale sky surveys at similar angular resolution leads to a better understanding of the processes occurring in the interstellar medium.

The establishment of the Partner Group in China dates back to a resolution of the Max Planck Society on November 9, 2000. The proposal involved collaboration in the exploration of magnetic fields in galaxies with special emphasis being placed on the investigation of the magnetic field of our Milky Way. The most important contribution made by the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn relates to the construction of a receiver for radio emission at six-centimetre wavelength including polarisation, which is being used at the 25-metre Nanshan radio telescope in Urumqi. The advantage of this radio telescope is its location at an altitude of 2,000 metres, where the better weather conditions are advantageous when observing radio emission at higher frequencies.

“Reciprocal visits to the institutes involved have formed a whole series of personal contacts,” says Richard Wielebinski, emeritus Director at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. “As far as the German researchers are concerned, we have established a good collaboration with our Chinese colleagues. Things which began with the Partner Group will be continued on a personal level.”

“In the course of our work on this project, a total of five doctorates have been completed in our research group,” says Jin-Lin Han, the Head of the Partner Group in Beijing. “Our collaboration has significantly boosted the development of radio astronomy in China. The way the objective of the Partner Group has been achieved is excellent.”

The results of the research project encompass 24 scientific publications since 2002, most of them in the renowned European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A). The project has provided researchers with a great deal of experience in conducting radio continuum observations and means significant progress has been made in the construction of receiver systems for Chinese astronomy.

Dr. Norbert Junkes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de/4406641/Milky_Way_atlas

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>