eROSITA telescope scans the entire sky, produces comprehensive X-ray map that shows millions of objects


Scientists have moved ahead in their endeavour to explore and understand space. Now, they have come up with a new comprehensive X-ray map of the entire sky, reported Science news.

The map, which was released last month, has been obtained after scanning of the sky by the eROSITA X-ray telescope onboard the Russian-German SRG spacecraft. The survey by the telescope was completed in six months.

It is the first of eight total sky surveys that eROSITA is expected to conduct over the next few years.

Annotated version of the eROSITA First All-Sky image. Several prominent X-ray features are marked, ranging from… [more]
Credit: Jeremy Sanders, Hermann Brunner, Andrea Merloni and the eSASS team (MPE); Eugene Churazov, Marat Gilfanov (on behalf of IKI)

According to Phys.org, the map contains more than one million objects, roughly doubling the number of known X-ray sources discovered over the 60-years.

The objects discovered include Milky Way stars and supermassive black holes at the centres of other galaxies. Some of these galaxies are billions of light-years away and date back to when the universe was just one-tenth of its current age.

“This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe. We see such a wealth of detail—the beauty of the images is really stunning,” said Peter Predehl, the Principal Investigator of eROSITA at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE).

The images sent by eROSITA are about four times deeper than the previous all-sky survey by the ROSAT telescope 30 years ago. They have produced around 10 times more sources.

The new map reveals stars with strong, magnetically active hot coronae. It also shows X-ray binary stars containing neutron stars, black holes or white dwarves.

“Large sky areas have already been covered at many other wavelengths, and now we have the X-ray data to match. We need these other surveys to identify the X-ray sources and understand their nature,” said Mara Salvato, the scientist at MPE who leads the effort to combine eROSITA observations with other telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum.

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