By Helen Sim
It’s been a long journey, but the first scientific results from our ASKAP telescope are being unveiled in Melbourne this week.
Carried out with six ASKAP antennas used by the team for commissioning activities, these early results have been written up and will appear as scientific papers over the coming months. But astronomers at the OzSKA meeting are getting a sneak peek.
Three key results promise success for some of the big projects planned for ASKAP.
An elevated view of our ASKAP antennas at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory. Credit: CSIRO.
Dark clouds, silver lining
In the first project, CSIRO astronomer Paolo Serra and his colleagues have found that a galaxy called IC 5270 has a couple of shady companions.
They appear to be dark (starless) clouds of hydrogen gas (HI), each with more than a billion solar masses of the stuff. In fact the clouds account for a third of the total HI mass associated with IC 5270.
It’s likely that this gas was stripped out of IC 5270 by gravity when other galaxies passed close by.
Dark clouds of gas (the two upper blobs) near the galaxy IC 5270.
Dark clouds like the ones near IC ...