New radio-wavelength images of the Milky Way’s galactic core show its exotic beauty and peril. In terms of the galactic habitable zone, life-friendly conditions certainly don’t exist near the core.
Ever wonder what you might see if your eyes were sensitive to radio waves instead of visible light? Then check out the latest images from the 64-antenna MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa, revealing the heart of the Milky Way as as it appears in radio emissions.
The stunning imagery shows previously known and newly-discovered features, including supernova remnants, huge magnetised radio filaments and the blazing inferno surrounding the 4-million-solar-mass black hole at the core of the galaxy.
The imagery is based on detailed analysis of a survey carried out during the telescope’s commissioning, resulting in a mosaic of 20 observations captured during 200 hours of telescope time. The result is a 100-megapixel mosaic with a resolution of 4 arc seconds.
The images reveal never-before-seen supernova remnants, including a rare, almost perfectly spherical example, along with numerous stellar nurseries, cirrus-like emissions made up of many parallel radio filaments and a mesmerising view of “the mouse,” a runaway pulsar possibly ejected in a supernova blast.
At the heart of the mosaic is the supermassive black hole at the core of the Milky Way, shining like a giant red eye embedded in a vast cloud of less powerful emissions.Astronomy Now