The GLEAM survey maps the sky utilizing radio waves at frequencies somewhere in the range of 72 and 231 MHz and has a resolution of two arcminutes (about equivalent to the human eye).
“It’s the power of this wide frequency range that makes it possible for us to disentangle different overlapping objects as we look toward the complexity of the Galactic center,” said Dr. Natasha Hurley-Walker, an astrophysicist at the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).
“Essentially, different objects have different ‘radio colors,’ so we can use them to work out what kind of physics is at play.”
Utilizing the MWA pictures, Dr. Hurley-Walker and colleagues found the remainders of 27 monstrous stars that detonated in supernovae.
These stars would have been eight or more times more massive than Sun before their dramatic destruction a large number of years prior.
“One of the newly-discovered supernova remnants lies in such an empty region of space, far out of the plane of our Galaxy, and so despite being quite young, is also very faint,” Dr. Hurley-Walker said.
“It’s the remains of a star that died less than 9,000 years ago, meaning the explosion could have been visible to Indigenous people across Australia at that time.”
Two of the supernova remnants found are quite unusual ‘orphans,’ found in a region of the sky where there are no massive stars, which implies future searches crosswise over other such regions may be more successful than astronomers anticipated. Other supernova remainders found in the research are very old.
“This is really exciting for us because it’s hard to find supernova remnants in this phase of life — they allow us to look further back in time in the Milky Way,” Dr. Hurley-Walker said.
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