CSIRO has released 10 out-of-this-world images of the ASKAP radio telescope


CSIRO gave us a little treat this week – they uploaded 10 of their favorite images collected through ASKAP data. Of course, no matter what medium you view this article in, it won’t do them justice, but these images are amazing and should be shared nonetheless.

But before you see ASKAP photos, you should probably know what exactly ASKAP is. First, ASKAP stands for Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder. ASKAP is an array of radio telescopes located at the Murchison Radio Astronomy Observatory in the middle of Western Australia.

ASKAP has 36 “parabolic” antennas that work together as a single telescope. The antennas rise three stories high, each with a 12-meter-wide dish, and they are scattered in the hinterland over an area of ​​about six square kilometers.

ASKAP is one of the precursor instruments of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), an international project to build the largest radio telescope in the world. The SKA project will consist of thousands of antennas located around the world, with central operating hubs in South Africa and Western Australia.

The SKA will eventually use thousands of dishes and up to a million low-frequency antennas that will allow astronomers to survey the sky in unprecedented detail and study the entire sky much faster than any currently existing system.

Telescopes like ASKAP provide an overview of the Universe.

Cool, right?

OK, here are the 10 best pictures of ASKAP

Image ASKAP 10: Polarized intensity around a supernova remnant

From the POSSUM Scientific Investigation Team.

Polarized intensity around a supernova remnant, POSSUM. Image: Vanderwoude/West/ASKAP-POSSUM Team/CSIRO

This image shows polarized emissions from gas clouds, interstellar dust, and background galaxies. The shell in the center is the supernova remnant (the gas shock wave that remains long after a star explodes).

According to CSIRO, by examining patterns of polarized gas, researchers hope to understand the magnetic fields at play in this part of our Galaxy.

Image ASKAP 9: Orbital patterns of galaxies in the Hydra cluster

From the scientific team of the WALLABY survey.

Image ASKAP
Orbital models of galaxies in the HYDRA cluster, WALLABY. Image: Jing Wang et al/CSIRO

In this image, gas data shows the motion of galaxies in the galaxy cluster Hydra. The white haze represents the density of hot gas and intra-cluster dust typical of massive clusters. The color of the galaxies represents their orbital motion within the cluster. CSIRO explains: Red galaxies are moving away from us, blue is moving towards us and green is in between!

ASKAP Image 8: The SWAG-X region

From ASKAP itself.

Image ASKAP
The SWAG-X region, ASKAP. Image: V. Moss/E.Lenc/CSIRO

As CSIRO explains, windows into the extragalactic Universe are mapped with various telescopes on Earth and in space. These studied areas allow researchers to explore and understand the Universe in X-rays, optical, infrared and other wavelengths simultaneously. This image of SWAG-X is one such region.

Image ASKAP 7: Galaxy running towards collision

From the scientific team of the EMU survey.

Image ASKAP
Galaxy running towards collision, EMU. Image: Veronica et al/CSIRO

An international team combined data from the ASKAP, SRG/eROSITA, XMM-Newton and Chandra satellites and DECam optical images and what they discovered was a large galaxy with a black hole at its center, moving at high speed.

The flow of red gas, says the CSIRO, shows this movement.

ASKAP image 6: Spinning in space

From the scientific team of the WALLABY survey.

Image ASKAP
Rotating in space, WALLABY. Image: T. Reynolds/CSIRO

Color often describes variations in density or temperature, however, as we can see in this image, color is all about movement. This is a galaxy map that shows how each individual galaxy is moving. As the CSIRO explains, blue means it is turning towards us, red is going away.

ASKAP image 5: Spot the mysterious signal

From the VAST survey science team.

Image ASKAP
Locate the mysterious signal, VAST. Image: Ziteng Wang et al/CSIRO

CSIRO calls it “one of our biggest astronomy stories for 2021.” He saw ASKAP detect a mysterious signal coming from the center of our Milky Way. This detachable image shows the position and the sudden onset of the signal.

Image ASKAP 4: Dancing ghosts

From the scientific team of the EMU survey.

Dancing ghosts, EMU. Image: Norris et al./DES/CSIRO

In another mystery, ASKAP spotted these two “dancing ghosts”.

However, CSIRO said the “ghosts” are really just clouds of energetic particles spewing out from the centers of black holes in two galaxies. But the shape of these clouds doesn’t fit into the researchers’ typical patterns. Therefore, there must be other forces at play. CSIRO said researchers have yet to determine what these are.

ASKAP Image 3: Galactic Plane

From the scientific team of the EMU survey.

Galactic Plane, EMU. Image: Umana et al/CSIRO

Studying the galactic plane is an essential goal for astronomers, as it is where our solar system resides alongside millions of stars, clouds of dust and gas, and dark matter. This was ASKAP’s first view of a small part of the Galactic Plane.

CSIRO said the team had discovered more than 3,600 compact radio sources – many of which had never been seen before. Even more astonishing, these data were acquired by only 15 of the 36 antennas of ASKAP. There will be even more to discover now that all 36 antennas work together. I love seeing him.

ASKAP Image 2: Large Magellanic Cloud

From the Early Science survey science team.

Large Magellanic Cloud, Early Science. Image: Pennock et al./CSIRO

Early science projects aimed to find out what ASKAP could do, says CSIRO. And after a year of processing, new images of the Large Magellanic Cloud have been unveiled, including this one of the Tarantula Nebula and its surroundings.

CSIRO says these images provide a reference for researchers to study star formation and the structure of galaxies in more detail.

ASKAP image 1: Small Magellanic Cloud with filaments

From the scientific team of the GASKAP-HI survey.

Small Magellanic Cloud with filaments, GASKAP. Image: Pingel at al/Ma et al/CSIRO

Arriving in first position (and we understand why), it is the best image to date of our neighboring galaxy in radio waves.

It was created using data from the ASKAP and Parkes (Murriyang) radio telescopes. The GASKAP-HI team is currently mapping the galaxy’s gas filament structure from the data. This will tell us more about where and how stars form. And maybe why this galaxy has such an irregular shape, adds CSIRO.


CSIRO says these images are just the start of many research projects and from there, teams will further analyze the data to uncover even more about our Universe.

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