Scientists have compiled the results of 400 separate observations of the center of the Milky Way galaxy into one image. It has strange structures that have not been seen before.
Using data from two telescopes, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope, the researchers put together the most complete picture of the center of the Milky Way. As a result, the scientists obtained a picture showing traces of orange, green and purple X-rays with curls of gray radio signals.
According to scientists, this image represents an “unprecedented” view of the galactic center. It also features cryptic structures that have not been seen before.
“The new panorama of the galactic center is based on previous surveys from Chandra and other telescopes,” the researchers wrote in a statement. “This latest version expands Chandra’s high-energy view above and below the plane of the galaxy, which is the disk where most of the stars are.”
Scientists have noted a streak of light in the image that was not visible in previous images. It exits from the center of the galaxy, just below and to the left of Sagittarius A * in the image. This band of energy, designated G0.17-0.41, spans about 20 light-years and is composed of intertwined filaments of X-rays and radio light, the researchers said.
Such bands could have formed when magnetic fields aligned in different directions, collided and began to twist around each other in the process of magnetic reconnection, astronomers explain.
Recall that magnetic reconnection is a phenomenon in which magnetic field lines from different magnetic domains converge together and quickly rearrange. With such a magnetic reconnection of the lines of force, the energy of the magnetic field heats up the nearest regions of the Sun’s atmosphere and accelerates the charged particles to a high speed.
The image also shows radio emission in the center of the galaxy. The two bunches of energy above and below the central plane are strange radio structures that could have been created by a powerful burst of the galaxy’s central black hole millions of years ago.
The research results were published in an article on the arXiv preprint server.