1,000 x 500 light-year area
of the center of the Milky Way
There is a new radio telescope up and running based in Karoo, South Africa.
The MeerKAT (Karoo
Array Telescope), as it's named, operated by the South African
Radio Astronomy Observatory, is already
producing brilliant images of the super massive
black hole that
is at our galaxy's center, 25,000 light years away.
However, MeerKAT's radio wavelengths penetrate the obscuring dust and open a window into this distinctive region and its black hole.
Taken by MeerKAT,
this shot shows a 1,000 x 500 light-year area
of the center of the Milky Way.
The brighter the spot, the more intense the radio signal.
Image by Square Kilometer Array, South Africa.
The "filaments" that you see in the image above are not yet fully understood, after being first discovered in the 1980s, but they only exist near that central black hole.
The other objects are remnants of supernovae and star-forming regions, near dead center of the Milky Way.
All 64 dishes of the
MeerKAT radio telescope array,
up and running in South Africa.
Astronomers "celebrated" completion
by taking a snapshot of the center of the Milky Way.
Image by Square Kilometer Array Africa.
This is not the first image by MeerKAT; it captured an image two years ago of an area that scientists previously thought only held about 70 galaxies:
MeerKAT "First Light" image
by Square Kilometer Array, South Africa.