The huge LOFAR radio telescope is located in Exloo, Drenthe
Translated by Thomas Ansell
The Dutch national astronomy institute in Dwingeloo, ASTRON, has announced the results of a ten-year project using the LOFAR radio telescope array. As reported by RTV Drenthe, the project has given researchers new, incredibly detailed images of various galaxies. These images are so detailed that scientists have been able to use them to better understand how galaxies function.
The images used data from the LOFAR array, which is centred around Exloo in Drenthe’s special protected ‘dark skies’ area. The telescope uses FM radio waves to get a far better ‘view’ of far-off galaxies than is possible using light waves.
In order to attain a resolution about twenty times sharper than a normal LOFAR image, the team created its own combination array of telescopes, meaning that the innermost reaches of nearby galaxies could be seen. The images allegedly push the boundaries of our current understanding of galaxies and super-massive black holes.
“These images show us what happens when a super-massive black hole launches radio ‘jets’, and this wasn’t possible using just FM frequencies before”, says Dr. Neal Jackson, of the University of Manchester.