Breaking: Astronomers Just Discovered 300,000 New Galaxies


The Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope is quickly making good on its promise. The Netherlands-based array picks up low radio frequencies, including the traces of radiation that form when galaxies merge. Now, an international team of scientists has published the first research made possible by LOFAR — and it adds 300,000 previously unknown galaxies to our map of the universe.

On Tuesday, the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics published a special edition dedicated to 26 research papers produced from LOFAR’s first space survey.

Because LOFAR can detect low radio frequencies invisible to other telescopes, it was able to record huge quantities of previously undetectable data during its survey of the sky — about 10 million DVDs worth. According to Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) researcher Timothy Shimwell, processing that data to generate maps featuring these 300,000 additional galaxies was a team effort.

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