CSIRO’s ASKAP telescope has mapped the atomic hydrogen gas within the Small Magellanic Cloud. Image credit: ANU/CSIRO
The Small Magellanic Cloud, one of the Milky Way’s orbiting dwarf galaxies, has had its radio emission imaged in unprecedented detail. Astronomers at the Australian National University (ANU) used CSIRO’s new radio telescope, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), to decipher clues as to how the galaxy evolved and what will happen to it in the future.
The new and powerful ASKAP telescope consists of thirty-six 12-metre antennas spanning across the Australian Mid West. By using its innovative radio camera technology, also known as phased array feeds, ASKAP was able to collect large amounts of radio observations from the Small Magellanic Cloud, which appears exclusively in the southern hemisphere.
The Small Magellanic Cloud is tiny in size and mass in comparison to the Milky Way, hence the term ‘dwarf galaxy’. However this neighbouring galaxy appears to have a very complex structure as well. This is likely due to interactions with the Milky Way and it’s galactic companion, the Large Magellanic Cloud, according to Professor Naomi McClure-Griffiths of ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics.
“The new image captured by CSIRO’s Australian Square ...