Scientists have discovered 300,000 new galaxies

Scientists have discovered 300,000 new galaxies

More than three hundred thousand previously undetected galaxies have been discovered in a new radio survey. A team comprising over 200 astronomers from 18 countries used the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope, based in Netherlands, to survey a part of the northern hemisphere at low radio frequency.

With only 10 per cent of the data made public, the revelations are huge. Using only the first two per cent of the sky survey, the researchers have published 26 papers in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

A galaxy cluster, containing hundreds to thousands of galaxies, can produce massive radio emissions when it merges with another cluster. These emissions can be scattered across millions of light years.  

"With radio observations we can detect radiation from the tenuous medium that exists between galaxies. This radiation is generated by energetic shocks and turbulence. LOFAR allows us to detect many more of these sources and understand what is powering them," Amanda Wilber from University of Hamburg (Germany) said in a press note.

"What we are beginning to see with LOFAR is that, in some cases, clusters of galaxies that are not merging can also show this emission, albeit at a very low level that was previously undetectable. This discovery tells us that, besides merger events, there are other phenomena that can trigger particle acceleration over huge scales," added Annalisa Bonafede from University of Bologna and INAF, Italy.

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