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Primeur weekly 2019-02-25

Special

Astronomers publish new sky map detecting hundreds of thousands of previously unknown galaxies ...

LOFAR and APERTIF telescope systems tooled with machine learning and FPGA/GPU technology make cosmic explosions more visible to astronomers ...

Focus

Over 700 million euro of budget allocated to e-Infrastructure related projects in H2020 - close to 600 million euro to HPC related projects ...

German Government reconfirms its support for supercomputing development on a national and European scale ...

Quantum computing

Dutch King opens Microsoft Quantum Lab on TU Delft campus ...

ISARA Corp. unveils tools to simplify and accelerate quantum-safe cryptography roll-out ...

Exploring the global landscape of quantum technology research ...

Focus on Europe

International research collaboration computes climate past, present, and future ...

Supercomputing Frontiers Europe again in Poland ...

Middleware

Open Compute Project announces updated market forecast ...

Excelero appoints HPC industry visionary Sven Breuner as Field CTO ...

Hardware

vScaler to perform ResNet benchmarks on the NVIDIA DGX-2 server ...

Cray elects Stephen Gold to Board of Directors ...

Atos helps CALMIP achieve leading calculation results with BullSequana supercomputer ...

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launches PARAM Shivay at the Indian Institute of Technology ...

HDR 200G InfiniBand sets new performance records, accelerating multiple high-performance computing and Artificial Intelligence platforms around the world ...

Supermicro expands Intelligent Edge product portfolio to address emerging AI and 5G technologies ...

Applications

HLRS Visualization supports Stuttgart 21 Construction ...

Lorentz-eScience competition 2020 to issue Call for Applications ...

Supercomputers target bovine tuberculosis ...

NESAP hosts first NERSC-9 GPU hackathon for application developers ...

Artificial Intelligence allows for identification of new cancer genes ...

Novel material properties of hybrid perovskite nanostructures for next-generation non-linear electronic devices ...

Clarkson University awarded National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Site on High Performance Computing ...

The Cloud

Hyperion Research releases Cloud Application Assessment Tool ...

Astronomers publish new sky map detecting hundreds of thousands of previously unknown galaxies


The galaxy cluster Abell 1314 is located in Ursa Major at at distance of approximately 460 million light years from earth. It hosts large-scale radio emission that was caused by its merger with another cluster. Non-thermal radio emission detected with the LOFAR telescope is shown in red and pink, and thermal X-ray emission detected with the Chandra telescope is shown in gray, overlaid on an optical image. Credit: Amanda Wilber/LOFAR Surveys Team/NASA/CXC.
17 Feb 2019 Dwingeloo, Utrecht - An international team of more than 200 astronomers from 18 countries has published the first phase of a major new radio sky survey at unprecedented sensitivity using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope. The survey reveals hundreds of thousands of previously undetected galaxies, shedding new light on many research areas including the physics of black holes and how clusters of galaxies evolve. A special issue of the scientific journalAstronomy & Astrophysicsis dedicated to the first twenty-six research papers describing the survey and its first results. The Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy ASTRON works together with SURF to efficiently transform the massive amounts of data into high-quality images.

Radio astronomy reveals processes in the Universe that we cannot see with optical instruments. In this first part of the sky survey, LOFAR observed a quarter of the northern hemisphere at low radio frequencies. At this point, approximately ten percent of that data is now made public. It maps three hundred thousand sources, almost all of which are galaxies in the distant Universe; their radio signals have travelled billions of light years before reaching Earth.

Huub Röttgering, Leiden University, The Netherlands, stated: "If we take a radio telescope and we look up at the sky, we see mainly emission from the immediate environment of massive black holes. With LOFAR we hope to answer the fascinating question: where do those black holes come from?" What we do know is that black holes are pretty messy eaters. When gas falls onto them they emit jets of material that can be seen at radio wavelengths.

Philip Best, University of Edinburgh, UK, added: "LOFAR has a remarkable sensitivity and that allows us to see that these jets are present in all of the most massive galaxies, which means that their black holes never stop eating."

Clusters of galaxies are ensembles of hundreds to thousands of galaxies and it has been known for decades that when two clusters of galaxies merge, they can produce radio emission spanning millions of light years. This emission is thought to come from particles that are accelerated during the merger process. Amanda Wilber, University of Hamburg, Germany, elaborated: "With radio observations we can detect radiation from the tenuous medium that exists between galaxies. This radiation is generated by energetic shocks and turbulence. LOFAR allows us to detect many more of these sources and understand what is powering them."

Annalisa Bonafede, University of Bologna and INAF, Italy, added: "What we are beginning to see with LOFAR is that, in some cases, clusters of galaxies that are not merging can also show this emission, albeit at a very low level that was previously undetectable. This discovery tells us that, besides merger events, there are other phenomena that can trigger particle acceleration over huge scales."

"Magnetic fields pervade the cosmos, and we want to understand how this happened. Measuring magnetic fields in intergalactic space can be difficult, because they are very weak. However, the unprecedented accuracy of the LOFAR measurements has allowed us to measure the effect of cosmic magnetic fields on radio waves from a giant radio galaxy that is 11 million light years in size. This work shows how we can use LOFAR to help us understand the origin of cosmic magnetic fields", explained Shane O'Sullivan, University of Hamburg.

Creating low-frequency radio sky maps takes both significant telescope and computational time and requires large teams to analyse the data. "LOFAR produces enormous amounts of data - we have to process the equivalent of ten million DVDs of data. The LOFAR surveys were recently made possible by a mathematical breakthrough in the way we understand interferometry", stated Cyril Tasse, Observatoire de Paris - Station de radioastronomie à Nançay, France.

"We have been working together with SURF in the Netherlands to efficiently transform the massive amounts of data into high-quality images. These images are now public and will allow astronomers to study the evolution of galaxies in unprecedented detail", stated Timothy Shimwell, Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON) and Leiden University.

SURF's compute and data centre located at SURFsara in Amsterdam runs on 100 percent renewable energy and hosts over 20 petabytes of LOFAR data. "This is more than half of all data collected by the LOFAR telescope to date. It is the largest astronomical data collection in the world. Processing the enormous data sets is a huge challenge for scientists. What normally would have taken centuries on a regular computer was processed in less than one year using the high throughput compute cluster (Grid) and expertise", stated Raymond Oonk, SURFsara.

The LOFAR telescope, the Low Frequency Array, is unique in its capabilities to map the sky in fine detail at metre wavelengths. LOFAR is operated by ASTRON in The Netherlands and is considered to be the world's leading telescope of its type. "This sky map will be a wonderful scientific legacy for the future. It is a testimony to the designers of LOFAR that this telescope performs so well", stated Carole Jackson, Director General of ASTRON.

The 26 research papers in the special issue ofAstronomy & Astrophysicswere done with only the first two percent of the sky survey. The team aims to make sensitive high-resolution images of the whole northern sky, which will reveal 15 million radio sources in total. "Just imagine some of the discoveries we may make along the way. I certainly look forward to it", stated Carole Jackson. "And among these there will be the first massive black holes that formed when the Universe was only a 'baby', with an age a few percent of its present age", added Huub Röttgering.

All the research papers in the special issue can be found on the website of Astronomy & Astrophysics .

Robert Schulz, ASTRON, created a video where we travel through the radio Universe, through the galaxies detected in the LOFAR survey.

Rafaël Mostert, Leiden University & ASTRON, created a movie that gives a quick tour of four galaxies in the Universe, showing the capability of LOFAR and/or the difference between detecting radio and optical waves.

Source: Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy ASTRON, SURF

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2019-02-25

Special

Astronomers publish new sky map detecting hundreds of thousands of previously unknown galaxies ...

LOFAR and APERTIF telescope systems tooled with machine learning and FPGA/GPU technology make cosmic explosions more visible to astronomers ...

Focus

Over 700 million euro of budget allocated to e-Infrastructure related projects in H2020 - close to 600 million euro to HPC related projects ...

German Government reconfirms its support for supercomputing development on a national and European scale ...

Quantum computing

Dutch King opens Microsoft Quantum Lab on TU Delft campus ...

ISARA Corp. unveils tools to simplify and accelerate quantum-safe cryptography roll-out ...

Exploring the global landscape of quantum technology research ...

Focus on Europe

International research collaboration computes climate past, present, and future ...

Supercomputing Frontiers Europe again in Poland ...

Middleware

Open Compute Project announces updated market forecast ...

Excelero appoints HPC industry visionary Sven Breuner as Field CTO ...

Hardware

vScaler to perform ResNet benchmarks on the NVIDIA DGX-2 server ...

Cray elects Stephen Gold to Board of Directors ...

Atos helps CALMIP achieve leading calculation results with BullSequana supercomputer ...

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launches PARAM Shivay at the Indian Institute of Technology ...

HDR 200G InfiniBand sets new performance records, accelerating multiple high-performance computing and Artificial Intelligence platforms around the world ...

Supermicro expands Intelligent Edge product portfolio to address emerging AI and 5G technologies ...

Applications

HLRS Visualization supports Stuttgart 21 Construction ...

Lorentz-eScience competition 2020 to issue Call for Applications ...

Supercomputers target bovine tuberculosis ...

NESAP hosts first NERSC-9 GPU hackathon for application developers ...

Artificial Intelligence allows for identification of new cancer genes ...

Novel material properties of hybrid perovskite nanostructures for next-generation non-linear electronic devices ...

Clarkson University awarded National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate Site on High Performance Computing ...

The Cloud

Hyperion Research releases Cloud Application Assessment Tool ...