(ORDO NEWS) — Using new algorithms and supercomputers, scientists have created an incredibly detailed radio map of the universe. This will significantly increase the accuracy of radio observations of galaxies.
The study was conducted by a team led by a PhD student at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, Frits Sweijen.
“This single map contains as many pixels as previous full-sky maps,” Svejen said. The researchers were able to eliminate the blurring effect of ultraviolet radiation present in our atmosphere – with the help of special software, they were able to correct this interfering effect.
Supercomputers located in Leiden and Amsterdam were used to perform this type of correction in real time.
For the foreseeable future, this new method will help improve the clarity of observations of the entire northern sky. Currently, the map only shows a small part of it, Svejen explained. “Imagine a square with a side five diameters of the full moon in the sky.
There are almost 7 billion pixels in this section of our map, which makes almost 2500 galaxies well distinguishable.
Svejgen notes, “This map was created from radio observations of the sky made with the international observatory LOFAR. This giant radio observatory includes thousands of antennas located in Europe within a zone with a diameter of 2000 kilometers. These antennas are tuned to observe cosmic radio emission.”
One major problem preventing LOFAR from observing the universe is ultraviolet radiation from our sun. As a result of the impact of this radiation with the Earth‘s atmosphere, charged particles, ions, are formed in it.
This ionosphere disturbs radio waves coming from space before they reach the telescope lens, Svejen said. “This makes images taken with the LOFAR observatory blurry, similar to images from under a thick layer of water.
Software recently developed by the Dutch Institute for Radio Astronomy ASTRON has made it possible to correct radio emission measurements over a fairly wide area. As a result, it was possible to significantly improve the accuracy of observations using the LOFAR observatory within the entire field of view of the observatory.”
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