The first images from the European LOFAR radio telescope left everyone speechless

Radio astronomers have always focused all their efforts on the study of our universe by observing almost exclusively high-frequency radio waves, but now the European LOFAR radio telescope has just shown that low-frequency waves can also provide us with a lot of information. interesting.

For those who are a little confused, LOFAR stands for Low Frequency Array, a European low-frequency radio telescope consisting of several radio stations scattered throughout Western Europe. Construction began in 2008 and at the end of 2009, although not finished, it was put into service.

Well, today the first images captured by LOFAR in the very low frequency range have been published, and despite the fact that the project today only has 21 radio stations in operation out of the 44 that it will have when the construction work is completed, the results were really good as shown in the image accompanying this post.

More precisely, what you see is the same supermassive black hole, the one located in the galaxy 3C61.1, captured by two “conventional” radio telescopes (left) and by LOFAR (right). The differences are obvious, the quality of the image captured by LOFAR is extremely high and allows us to observe details that are not visible in the other two images.

We are faced with big news. LOFAR has been completely proven to work perfectly well and the commitment to low frequency radio waves has been a great success. NOW imagine what this radio telescope will be able to show us once finished completely and begin to scan the universe with its total effective area of ​​1 square kilometer.

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Update: Several have told me that I should explain more about the image itself, so that's what I'm going to do with this update. As I said, what you can see in the image on the right is the supermassive black hole located in the galaxy 3C61.1 captured by LOFAR. In the center of the image we see the black hole itself. The “two arms” that go up and down (or right and left if you rotate the image) are jets of energy ejected out of the hole by the magnetic fields that are generated inside. Finally, part of this expelled matter was concentrated in these “two small bulbs” which appear on the image located light years from the “epicenter” of the black hole.

Via: scientific popularization

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