Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mapping Cold Dust in the Universe

24.02.2016

Spectacular new images of the Milky Way have been released to mark the completion of the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL). The APEX telescope in Chile, a collaboration between MPIfR (Bonn, Germany), the Swedish Onsala Space Observatory, and the European Southern Observatory, has mapped the full area of the Galactic Plane visible from the southern hemisphere for the first time at submillimetre wavelengths (between infrared light and radio waves) and in finer detail than recent space-based surveys. The pioneering 12-metre APEX telescope allows astronomers to study the cold Universe: gas and dust that are only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero.

APEX, the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment telescope, is located at 5100 metres altitude on the Chajnantor Plateau in Chile’s Atacama region. The APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy (ATLASGAL) took advantage of the unique characteristics of the telescope to provide a detailed view of the distribution of cold dense gas along the plane of the Milky Way galaxy. The complete survey includes most of the regions of star formation in the Milky Way.


Image of the Milky Way in the direction of Scorpius. Red: APEX data at a wavelength of 0.87 millimetres; Orange: Planck satellite (ESA); Blue: NASA Spitzer Space Telescope (GLIMPSE survey).

ESO/APEX/ATLASGAL consortium/NASA/GLIMPSE consortium


Three areas of the Galactic plane as seen by the APEX LABOCA camera merged with large-scale images from ESA’s Planck satellite.

ATLASGAL Consortium/Csengeri et al. 2016, A&A 585, A104.

The ATLASGAL maps cover an area of sky 140 degrees long and 3 degrees wide. This survey is the single most successful APEX large programme with more than 69 associated science papers already published, and its legacy will expand much further with all the reduced data products now available for the full astronomical community.

At the heart of APEX are its sensitive instruments. One of these, LABOCA (the LArge BOlometer Camera), the largest such detector in the southern hemisphere, was used for the ATLASGAL survey. LABOCA, built at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany, measures incoming radiation by registering the tiny rise in temperature it causes and can detect emission from the cold dark dust bands obscuring the stellar light.

“If we combine the high spatial resolution ATLASGAL data with observations from ESA’s Planck satellite, the resulting data reach space quality with a 20 times higher resolution”, says Axel Weiß from MPIfR who was responsible for the merging of the data. This allows astronomers to detect emission spread over a larger area of sky and to estimate the fraction of dense gas in the inner Galaxy. The ATLASGAL data were also used to create a complete census of cold and massive clouds where new generations of stars are forming.

“ATLASGAL provides exciting insights into where the next generation of high-mass stars and clusters form. By combining these with observations from Planck, we can now obtain a link to the large scale structures of giant molecular clouds”, remarks Timea Csengeri, also from MPIfR, first author of the paper about the distribution of cold dust in the Galactic plane on the base of the combined ATLASGAL and Planck data.

The APEX telescope recently celebrated ten years of successful research on the cold Universe. It plays an important role not only as pathfinder, but also as a complementary instrument for ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, also on the Chajnantor Plateau. APEX is based on a prototype antenna constructed for the ALMA project, and it has found many targets that ALMA can study in great detail.

“ATLASGAL has allowed us to have a new and transformational look at the dense interstellar medium of our own Milky Way”, says Leonardo Testi from ESO, who is a member of the ATLASGAL team and the European Project Scientist for the ALMA project. “The new release of the full survey opens up the possibility to mine this marvelous dataset for new discoveries. Many teams of scientists are already using the ATLASGAL data to plan for detailed ALMA follow-up.”

“Modern astronomy always uses a multi-wavelength approach. ATLASGAL adds a view at the cold Universe, revealing the cradles of stars”, concludes Karl Menten from MPIfR, the APEX principal investigator.


APEX, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), Onsala Space Observatory (OSO), and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) to construct and operate a modified prototype antenna of ALMA (Atacama Large Millimetre Array) as a single dish on the Chajnantor plateau at an altitude of 5,100 metres above sea level (Atacama Desert, Chile). The telescope was manufactured by VERTEX Antennentechnik in Duisburg, Germany. The operation of the telescope is entrusted to ESO.

ATLASGAL, the APEX Telescope Large Area Survey of the Galaxy, is a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA), ESO, and the University of Chile.

ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, is a partnership of the ESO, the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC) and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

Original Paper:

The ATLASGAL survey: distribution of cold dust in the Galactic plane. Combination with Planck data. T. Csengeri, A. Weiss, F. Wyrowski, K. M. Menten J. S. Urquhart, S. Leurini, F. Schuller, H. Beuther, S. Bontemps, L. Bronfman, Th. Henning, and N. Schneider. Astronomy & Astrophysics 585, A104 (2016). DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201526639

http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/pdf/2016/01/aa26639-15.pdf
http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/abs/2016A%26A...585A.104C

Local Contact:

Dr. Friedrich Wyrowski,
APEX Project Scientist
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn.
Fon: +49 228 525-381
E-mail: fwyrowski@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

Dr. Timea Csengeri,
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn.
Fon: +49 228 525-392
E-mail: tcsengeri@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

Dr. Norbert Junkes,
Press and Public Outreach
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn.
Fon: +49 228 525-399
E-mail: njunkes@mpifr-bonn.mpg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mpifr-bonn.mpg.de/pressreleases/2016/3

Norbert Junkes | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

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: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>