The largest map of galaxies was obtained: it includes 4 million galaxies, 1 million of which have never been observed before. It was obtained from an international collaboration led by Astron, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, which operates the European Large Radio Telescope Lofar (Low Frequency Array). The map is published in the magazine Astronomy and astrophysicsincludes unusually detailed radio wave images of 4 million galaxies, none of which have yet been observed at these frequencies.
To map galaxies, most of which are billions of light years away, researchers led by Timothy Shimwell put the most advanced algorithms to work on high-performance computers scattered across Europe: it had to process 3,500 hours of observations that took up 8 petabytes of space, the equivalent of roughly 20,000 A laptop (1 petabyte equals 1 billion bytes).
The publication of the new data covers 27% of the entire survey, which deals with mapping the skies in the northern hemisphere. “We can now expect – says Shimuel – that once the observation is complete it will lead to many new discoveries”, including those of how “the largest structures in the universe form and grow, how holes evolve, the blacks, the physics that govern the birth of stars and the most remarkable stages.” in the lives of the stars of our galaxy.
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