New Study Maps Out 1,000 Mysterious Strands In Space Near The Centre Of The Milky-Way

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New Study Maps Out 1,000 Mysterious Strands In Space Near The Centre Of The Milky-Way

Photo: A mosaic image of the center of the Milky Way, captured with radiowaves. The magnetic filaments are large, vertical slashes throughout the image. Credit: Northwestern University


A study of our Milky Way galaxy has mapped out 1,000 mysterious strands, some as long as 150 light-years weaved through space.


The strands are found in the Milky Way's center and were originally discovered by Farhad Yusef-Zadeh of Northwestern University in the 1980s. However, scientists have almost no idea as to their true nature or origin.


The strands are believed to be made up of cosmic-ray electrons gyrating the magnetic field at close to the speed of light and the new study, conducted by Farhad Yusef-Zadeh's team, is the first to map out where they actually lie in our galaxy.


The published study states:


"We have studied individual filaments for a long time with a myopic view. Now, we finally see the big picture—a panoramic view filled with an abundance of filaments. Just examining a few filaments makes it difficult to draw any real conclusion about what they are and where they came from. This is a watershed in furthering our understanding of these structures."


To construct the image of the strands, the team used 3 years of data from the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) to piece out different areas of the Milky Way.


Study co-author, Ian Heywood, of Oxford University added:


"I've spent a lot of time looking at this image in the process of working on it, and I never get tired of it. When I show this image to people who might be new to radio astronomy, or otherwise unfamiliar with it, I always try to emphasize that radio imaging hasn't always been this way, and what a leap forward MeerKAT really is in terms of its capabilities. It's been a true privilege to work over the years with colleagues from SARAO who built this fantastic telescope. It's like modern art. These images are so beautiful and rich, and the mystery of it all makes it even more interesting."


Pondering the mystery of the strands, Yusef-Zadeh said:


"They almost resemble the regular spacing in solar loops. We still don't know why they come in clusters or understand how they separate, and we don't know how these regular spacings happen. Every time we answer one question, multiple other questions arise. How do you accelerate electrons at close to the speed of light? One idea is there are some sources at the end of these filaments that are accelerating these particles."


It is hoped that this study will take the scientific community one step further to understanding one of astronomy's biggest current unknowns.


[Based on reporting by: Phys.org]


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Thinking Humanity: New Study Maps Out 1,000 Mysterious Strands In Space Near The Centre Of The Milky-Way
New Study Maps Out 1,000 Mysterious Strands In Space Near The Centre Of The Milky-Way
A study of our Milky Way galaxy has mapped out 1,000 mysterious strands, some as long as 150 light-years weaved through space. The strands are found
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