Breathtaking X-Ray Map of the Universe Could Revolutionize Astronomy

June 21, 2020

A German-Russian space telescope has beamed back a truly breathtaking map of the entire sky as seen through x-rays from the observational post some 1.5 million km from Earth.

The eRosita instrument, mounted on the Spektr-RG orbital telescope which was launched in July last year, captured the universe in all its glory, replete with black holes devouring everything in their vicinities, exploding stars, and searing hot gas clouds sprawling across the Milky Way and beyond.

The telescope only became operational in December and began scanning the entire sky, sending back the first all-sky data-set just last week for processing. The results were published on Friday.

Among the patchwork of stunning color are over one million sources of x-rays, effectively doubling the number catalogued by humanity so far. The blue areas indicate regions filled with higher energy x-rays, with greens showing middle intensity and finally red for lower energy sources.

The team used a technique called Aitoff projection, developed by Russian cartographer David A. Aitoff in 1889, to unravel the sphere of the sky onto an ellipse shape.

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