In news– The MeerKat radio telescope’s analysis of 2,000 galaxies revealed new information recently.
About the new study-
- The study used observations from the powerful MeerKAT radio telescope array, located in South Africa, to analyse more than 2,000 galaxies.
- Its findings suggest that, within the galaxies scientists analysed, their course of evolution is likely accompanied by cosmic ray electrons losing energy with time.
- As per the study, the energy does not and cannot simply vanish.
- Instead, as the electrons slow down, their energy is converted into that of the electromagnetic emissions.
- These emissions, after escaping the confines of the galaxy and traversing the cosmic distances, are among the telltale signals picked up by the MeerKAT.
- These findings help scientists better understand the nature of these galaxies, and furthermore, the formation and evolution of galaxies in general including our home galaxy, the Milky Way, which may be undergoing a similar process at the moment.
- Scientists selected 2,094 galaxies that are active in forming stars, which means they are energetic and young in cosmic time-scales.
- The galaxies scientists observe now reflect how they used to be roughly 1 to 11 billion years ago and they are at different evolutionary stages.
- By combining the emission of light in visible, infra-red, and radio from these selected 2,094 galaxies, the study measured how massive, how active, and how bright they appear to be at different radio frequencies, as well as some other fundamental physical properties.
- MeerKAT, originally the Karoo Array Telescope, is a radio telescope consisting of 64 antennas in the Northern Cape of South Africa.
- MeerKAT is the most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until the Square Kilometre Array (SKA, which will be the world’s largest radio telescope) is completed.
- MeerKAT was launched in 2018.
- It was designed by engineers within the South Africa Radio Astronomy Observatory and South African industries.
- It comprises 64 antennas, each 13.5m in diameter, equipped with cryogenic receivers.
- MeerKAT is a precursor for the SKA-mid array, as are the Hydrogen Epoch of Reionization Array (HERA), the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) and the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA).
- MeerKAT supports a wide range of observing modes, including deep continuum, polarisation and spectral line imaging, pulsar timing and transient searches.