Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Victoria researchers help develop map of Milky Way

A sky map of the
Faraday effect caused by the magnetic fields of the Milky
Way. Red and blue colours indicate regions of the sky where
the magnetic field points toward and away from the observer,
respectively. Image: Max Planck Institute for
Astrophysics.
Click for full size version

A sky map of the Faraday effect caused by the magnetic fields of the Milky Way. Red and blue colours indicate regions of the sky where the magnetic field points toward and away from the observer, respectively. Image: Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.

MEDIA RELEASE

21 February 2012

Victoria researchers help develop map of Milky Way

We now have a new way of viewing the Milky Way, thanks to Victoria astronomer Melanie Johnston-Hollitt and one of her undergraduate students.

Dr Johnston-Hollitt and student Luke Pratley, who is about to begin an Honours degree in Physics, are part of an international team that has produced the highest precision map ever of the Milky Way galaxy’s magnetic field.

The team, led by Niels Oppermann of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA), pooled data from radio astronomy observations to map the galaxy’s magnetic field.

In 2004, Dr Johnston-Hollitt produced the first such map of the Milky Way with Dr Christopher Hollitt from the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University.

“Back then there were only 800 data points to use; now we have 41,000 so we are able to map for the first time the magnetic field of the Milky Way in detail like we've not seen before,” says Dr Johnston-Hollitt.

The Senior Lecturer in Victoria’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences says there has been a renaissance in radio astronomy in recent years.

“The map shows the rapid advance of radio telescopes that work in a different way to optical telescopes.

“You can’t directly ‘see’ other galaxies by looking through a radio telescope but we can use computers to translate radio waves into images. There are parts of space where a radio telescope will allow us to ‘see’ further than optical telescopes.”

In making the new map, the research team measured the light from background galaxies and how the light changes as it passes through the Milky Way to produce a 3D view of the galaxy.

In particular, the researchers were able to use the light that is affected by the galaxy’s magnetic fields—polarised light—to map the galaxy’s structure. This technique is known as the Faraday Rotation.

“The Milky Way is hard to map because we are sitting on the edge of the galaxy looking through it However, we know that spiral galaxies like the Milky Way have magnetic fields that follow a particular pattern so we were able use polarised light to map the magnetic fields.”

Dr Johnston-Hollitt says that having many data sources helped create such an accurate map.

The new, high-precision map not only shows the structure of the galaxy’s magnetic field on a large scale, it also reveals small-scale features that help scientists better understand other aspects such as turbulence in galactic gas.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Fairfax Moves To Create Modern Newsroom

Fairfax Media New Zealand continues its newsroom transformation this week, with a proposal to further organise its editorial operations into focused, local teams and specialist national topic areas. More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Forecast For 2015/16 Season

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season to $4.40 per kgMS. Along with its previously announced forecast dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the change amounts to a forecast ... More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: SkyCity Lifts Minimum Convention Centre Investment To $430M

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino operator, has lifted the minimum it will invest in the Auckland International Convention Centre to $430 million and said total costs including land may be $450 million to $470 million. More>>

Statistics: Drop In Dairy Prices Leads Fall In Exports

Total goods exports fell $240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>


BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>

BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news