Thursday, July 7, 2022

A stunning image shows Milky Way’s closest neighbor in new detail

Stunning close-up reveals secrets of Milky Way's neighbor.

Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, share the first clearest ever picture of one of the Milky Way’s closest neighbors, the Small Magellanic Cloud. The image shows hydrogen emitted from the Small Magellanic Cloud.

Through this image, scientists observed all of the small-scale structures for the first time.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Nickolas Pingel, said, “The clarity of this image is unprecedented. It’s an important step in understanding the role hydrogen plays in the evolution of galaxies.”

“For example, you can see holes within the gas. This shows us that hydrogen interacts with supernovae.”

Using the CSIRO’s ASKAP radio telescope and high-tech software, scientists captured and processed 100 hours of data. They mainly focused on the Small Magellanic Cloud – the nearest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

Dr. Pingel said“This specific image was part of a pilot survey. Over the next year, we are going to collect more observations. Eventually, we’ll be able to connect them and make a giant mosaic which will show how this galaxy connects to its nearby neighbors.”

Journal Reference:

  1. N. M. Pingel et al. GASKAP-HI Pilot Survey Science I: ASKAP Zoom Observations of HI Emission in the Small Magellanic Cloud. arXiv: 2111.05339
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