The universe has just become a little more busy with the discovery of more than 300,000 potential galaxies in a small corner of the northern sky.
The release of data collected by the low frequency telescope (LOFAR) in Europe has added extraordinary new levels of detail to the radio waves map in space, inspiring dozens of studies of everything from magnetic fields to black holes.
Such moments must be grateful for our relative blindness to the night sky's luster – at least if we want to sleep at night. Invisible to the human eye, the universe is in fact flashed by low-frequency waves produced by acceleration of particles and electromagnetic fields. The LOFAR's 20,000 antennas, scattered across 48 stations in the Netherlands and abroad, are like having a huge radio-sensitive eye on the surface of our planet.
Among his many tasks is an intensive study of the northern night sky in radiofrequencies of about 1
So far only about 20% of the study has been completed, and scientists around the world can only access up to 10% of the available data. This may not sound like a lot, but they obviously have field days with him.
The newspaper Astronomy and Astrophysics has just published 26 studies based on this initial release of data, including quasars, blushers, black holes, and intergalactic electromagnetic fields.
One of the largest findings in the source mosaic is 325,694 points, where the brightness of the radio waves increases to at least five times the background noise. About 70% of them can be linked to an optical signal, so it's quite safe to say that these bright spots are galaxies that we can add to our space map. everything that comes with such courage, they vomit jets of matter shining in the radio waves. What is unclear is how strict this rule is and whether these basic black holes ever manage to clear their plate.
These new data help scientists to convince them that these monsters have merciless appetites. remarkable sensitivity, and this allows us to see that these jets are in all the massive galaxies, meaning their black holes never stop eating, "said Philippe Best, astrophysicist at Edinburgh University
. the new galaxies can not only help us understand their internal structures, but it also provides a valuable tool for understanding the vast stretches of nothingness between them.
Usually radio waves are produced by the turbulence that is stirred when galaxies collide.
"What we are starting to see with LOFAR is that in some cases groups of non-merging galaxies can also show this issue at a very low level that could not be detected before, says astrophysicist Annalisa Bonaphede of the University of Bologna.  "This discovery tells us that, in addition to merging events, there are other phenomena that can cause particle acceleration over huge rocks."
Top: G Alaska depicted by LOFAR. Gray shows the visible light, and the orange shades show the "hidden" radios, completely changing the picture.
LOFAR's Eye Sensitivity to the Sky also helped the researchers track the weak magnetic fields that were predicted to exist in the intergalactic space but so far difficult to detect.
"Magnetic fields penetrate into space and we want to understand how this happened," says University of Hamburg's astronomer Shane Oullivan. the very amount of raw data gathered from surveys such as, for example, requires new ways of processing information that is not only time-efficient but not too power-consuming.
The data management co-operation, SURF, currently stores more than 20 petabytes of LOFAR information, which is still just over half the total amount.
"We have worked together with SURF in the Netherlands to efficiently transform huge amounts of data into high-quality imagery," says cosmologist Timothy Shimuel of the Dutch Institute of Radio Astronomy and Leiden University.
SURF technology and processes are doing a relatively short job of removing numbers in something that can be used by a variety of research teams. Moreover, everything is done on 100% renewable energy sources.
This is just the beginning. There is still a lot of skies that can reveal, which in the end could reveal about 15 million new sources of radio wave emissions, many of which stretch back to the dawn of the universe.
This is a bright future for exploring LOFAR skies. This study is published in Astronomy and Astrophysics .