Spectacular new image of Milky Way's centre captured

A new view of the centre of the galaxy as been captured by a radio telescope in Western Australia.

The image shows what the Milky Way would look like if humans could see radio waves.

Astrophysicist Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker, from the Curtin University node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), created the images using the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre in Perth.

“This new view captures low-frequency radio emission from our galaxy, looking both in fine detail and at larger structures,” she explains.

“Our images are looking directly at the middle of the Milky Way, towards a region astronomers call the Galactic Centre.”

  • An artist's impression supernova

The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope captured the image, as the data compiled allows maps of the sky to be formed.

“It’s the power of this wide frequency range that makes it possible for us to disentangle different overlapping objects as we look toward the complexity of the Galactic Centre,” Dr Hurley-Walker said.

“Essentially, different objects have different ‘radio colours’, so we can use them to work out what kind of physics is at play.”

The technology also allowed the astronomers to find supernovae which died out around 9,000 years ago.

“This is really exciting for us, because it’s hard to find supernova remnants in this phase of life—they allow us to look further back in time in the Milky Way.”