Ultra-sensitive radio images reveal thousands of star-forming galaxies in early Universe

An international team of astronomers has published the most sensitive images of the Universe ever taken at low radio frequencies, using the International Low Frequency Array (LOFAR).

The software needed to do this, specifically that which handles the direction-dependent effects that would otherwise contaminate the images, goes back to the work of a former Rhodes University Postdoc Dr Cyril Tasse, who remains an honorary research associate of the University, and Prof. Oleg Smirnov, SKA (Square Kilometre Array) Chair in Radio Astronomy Techniques and Technologies at Rhodes University and Head of the Radio Astronomy Research Group at SARAO.

By observing the same regions of sky over and over again and combining the data to make a single very-long exposure image, the international team has detected the faint radio glow of stars exploding as supernovae, in tens of thousands of galaxies out to the most distant parts of the Universe. A special issue of the scientific journal Astronomy & Astrophysics is dedicated to 14 research papers describing these images and the first scientific results… read the full press release here.