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SKA precursor telescope in Australia produces a catalogue of 300,000 galaxies


A ‘radio colour’ view of the sky above a ‘tile’ of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope, located in outback Western Australia. The Milky Way is visible as a band across the sky and the dots beyond are some of the 300,000 galaxies observed by the telescope for the GLEAM survey. Red indicates the lowest frequencies, green the middle frequencies and blue the highest frequencies. Credit: Radio image by Natasha Hurley-Walker (ICRAR/Curtin) and the GLEAM Team. MWA tile and landscape by Dr John Goldsmith / Celestial Visions.

Perth, Western Australia, Thursday 27 October – Published today in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the GaLactic and Extragalactic All-sky MWA, or ‘GLEAM’ survey, has produced a catalogue of 300,000 galaxies observed by the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a AUD50 million radio telescope located at a remote site north-east of Geraldton in Western Australia. The MWA is one of the three SKA precursor telescopes.

GLEAM is a large-scale, high-resolution survey of the radio sky observed at frequencies from 70 to 230 MHz, observing radio waves that have been travelling through space—some for billions of years. The survey will allow scientists to find out what happens when clusters of galaxies collide, to see the remnants of explosions from the most ancient stars in our galaxy, and find the first and last gasps of supermassive black holes.

Completing the GLEAM survey with the MWA is a big step on the path to SKA-low, the low frequency part of the international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope to be built in Australia in the coming years.

“The survey gives us a glimpse of the Universe that SKA-low will be probing once it’s built. By mapping the sky in this way we can help fine-tune the design for the SKA and prepare for even deeper observations into the distant Universe.” said MWA Director Associate Professor Randall Wayth, from Curtin University and ICRAR.

Read the full release on the ICRAR website.


GLEAM Timelapse (with narration) from ICRAR on Vimeo.

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