Major discovery made by MeerKAT radio telescope array

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South Africa’s 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope array, in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape province, has allowed an international astronomy team to make a major discovery in the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. They have discovered gigantic, twin, structures that resemble balloons which extend for hundreds of light years above and below the centre of our galaxy. These structures are emitting radiation generated by electrons moving at speeds close to the speed of light and interacting with powerful magnetic fields. Unlike visible light, the radio waves were not blocked by the dense dust clouds that hide the centre of the galaxy from our eyes. The discovery was published in an article in the renowned science journal Nature on Wednesday. “These enormous bubbles have until now been hidden by the glare of extremely bright radio emission from the centre of the galaxy,” said South African Radio Astronomy Observatory Chief Scientist article co-author Fernando Camilo. “Teasing out the bubbles from the background noise was a technical tour de force, only made possible by MeerKAT’s unique characteristics and ideal location.”

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