Stunning new image of Andromeda galaxy 2.5 million light-years from Earth shows scientists where stars are born near Milky Way
- A new radio image of the Andromeda galaxy has let scientists know what part of it stars were born in
- The image was published at the microwave frequency of 6.6 GHz
- Emissions from Andromeda are only visible in the frequency range between 1-22 GHz
- Scientists have identified about 100 points, including stars, galaxies and other objects in the background of Andromeda
A stunning new radio image of the closest galaxy to the Milky Way – Andromeda – has let scientists know where our neighboring galactic stars were born.
The image, published at the microwave frequency of 6.6 GHz, was made possible by Sardinia Radio Telescope, a 64-meter telescope that can operate at high radio frequencies.
“This image allows us to study the structure of Andromeda and its contents in more detail than has ever been possible,” said the study’s lead author, physicist Sofia Fatigoni of the University of British Columbia, in a statement.
“If we understand the nature of physical processes that take place in Andromeda, we can better understand what is happening in our own galaxy, as if we were looking at ourselves from the outside.”
A stunning new radio image of the closest galaxy to the Milky Way – the Andromeda galaxy – has let scientists know in which part of our neighboring galactic stars are born
The image, published at the microwave frequency of 6.6 GHz, was powered by Sardinia Radio Telescope (pictured), located on the Italian island
The researchers were able to create a map because they were in the frequency range between one GHz and 22 GHz. When creating the map, the scientists identified about 100 points, including stars, galaxies and other objects in the background of Andromeda.
ANDROMEDA: OUR NEAR NEAR GALACTIC NEIGHBORHOOD
Andromeda is a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way.
Also known as Messier 31 or NGC 224 – it is about 2.5 million light-years away from the Milky Way.
It gets its name from the fact that it appears in the terrestrial sky in the constellation Andromeda.
First observed around 964, it was originally referred to as a faint smear — it wasn’t until the 1920s that it became known as a galaxy.
It is about the same size as the Milky Way – a trillion solar masses – and one day the two will collide.
They are expected to converge in about 4.5 billion years — Earth’s current age — to form a giant elliptical galaxy.
The researchers spent 66 hours observing the galaxy with the telescope and based on that data, they were able to estimate the rate of formation in the galaxy and mark the region where they were born.
In particular, we were able to determine the fraction of emissions from thermal processes associated with the early stations of new star formation, and the fraction of radio signals attributable to non-thermal mechanisms due to cosmic rays. spiraling into the interstellar medium in the present magnetic field,” Fatigoni added.
The researchers were able to create a map because they were in the frequency range between one GHz and 22 GHz.
While the galaxy’s emissions in this range are faint, this is the only range where certain features are visible, allowing the researchers to create a map.
When creating the map, the scientists identified about 100 points, including stars, galaxies and other objects in Andromeda’s background.
“By combining this new image with the previously acquired images, we have made important steps forward in elucidating the nature of Andromeda’s microwave emissions and enabling us to discern physical processes taking place in different regions of the galaxy,” said Dr. Elia Battistelli, a professor in Sapienza’s Department of Physics and coordinator of the study.
The research was recently published in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
In August 2020, the Hubble Space Telescope first mapped the giant halo of gas that envelops the Andromeda Galaxy.
The Andromeda galaxy, also known as M31, is a majestic spiral of about 1 trillion stars and is comparable in size to the Milky Way.
It’s about 10 billion years old and located about 2.5 million light-years from the Milky Way — so close it looks like a cigar-shaped patch of light high in the autumn sky.
In about 4.5 billion years, Andromeda is expected to collide with the Milky Way Galaxy.