Home > Astronomy, Astrophysics, General Astronomy > VLA Gives Deep, Detailed Image Of Distant Universe

VLA Gives Deep, Detailed Image Of Distant Universe


Ultra-Sensitive VLA Image of Distant Galaxies. Credit: Condon, et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF

Ultra-Sensitive VLA Image of Distant Galaxies. Credit: Condon, et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF

Staring at a small patch of sky for more than 50 hours with the ultra-sensitive Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA), astronomers have for the first time identified discrete sources that account for nearly all the radio waves coming from distant galaxies. They found that about 63 percent of the background radio emission comes from galaxies with gorging black holes at their cores and the remaining 37 percent comes from galaxies that are rapidly forming stars.

“The sensitivity and resolution of the VLA, following its decade-long upgrade, made it possible to identify the specific objects responsible for nearly all of the radio background emission coming from beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy,” said Jim Condon, of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). “Before we had this capability, we could not detect the numerous faint sources that produce much of the background emission,” he added.

Previous studies had measured the amount of radio emission coming from the distant Universe, but had not been capable of attributing all the radio waves to specific objects. In earlier observations, emission from two or more faint objects often was blurred or blended into what appeared to be a single, stronger source of radio waves.

Condon said. “The VLA now is a million times more sensitive than the radio telescopes that made landmark surveys of the sky in the 1960s.”

Full Story: http://www.nrao.edu/pr/2013/vladeep/#caption

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