Modelling and research await SKA, the largest radio telescope ever created

Modelling and research await SKA, the largest radio telescope ever created

Square Kilometre Array will soon become the world's largest radio telescope. Recently, a group of researchers have shown that SKA will be able to detect radiation from galaxies in the early universe and beyond.

The Square Kilometre Array Observatory, also known as SKA, will soon become the world's largest radio telescope and will consist of a network of two radio telescopes in Australia and South Africa, each composed of hundreds of antennas. Recently, an international group of researchers has shown that SKA will be able to detect radiation from spiral galaxies in the early universe.

Astronomers are part of SKAO's "Intergalactic Continuum" group and are looking for a way to study the space age, when the activity of star formation suddenly declined after an era known as space noon. They modelled the physical properties of interstellar galaxies similar to the galaxy of the Triangle in the early era of the universe. The results show that tools should be sufficiently sensitive to detect primal galaxies at an early stage of SKAO.

Space noon and a decline in star formation

About 10 billion years ago, after a period of great activity known as space afternoon, there was a decline in the production of new stars in galaxies, a transition that has not yet been fully explored in space evolution.

Researchers suggest that the sudden decline in galaxy activity is associated with a decrease in the amount of cold gas inside the galaxy, which serves as the fuel for star formation, but observations show that many galaxies still have reserves of gas large enough to allow new stars to form.

And indeed, there is still no certainty that this is the most plausible explanation." That's what Fatemeh Tabatabaei believes, former researcher of the Max Planck Astronomy Institute in Heidelberg and co-author of the study. "

In astronomy, red displacement is defined as a phenomenon in which spectra of light emitted by celestial objects shift over time towards longer waves due to the expansion of the universe. Red displacement can be directly transformed into distance, or age, from the Big Bang.

To assess the future performance of SKA and see whether it would be possible to understand the transition between space noon and the reduction in the rate of star formation, astronomers modeled the physical processes in the interstellar environment of galaxies at different red shifts. ISM consists mainly of gas and microscopic particulates, which astronomers call dust and which, at different temperatures, penetrate space between stars.

The interaction between high-energy particles and magnetic fields in ISM produces radiation in the radio wave range, which is why radio telescopes such as SKA are important for tracking energy processes in galaxies, including:

  • An understanding of the energy balance and the structure of galaxies over time; a reflection of different energy processes in close and distant galaxies; shed light on processes and events that control the evolution of galaxies; and a better understanding of the decrease in star formation activity.

Modelling results

An important part of the preparation for future SKA data is the choice of the types of galaxies and space distances needed to study these processes in the early universe. Masumeh Gasemi-Nodehi, a post-dock in the IPM and a member of the project explained:

In the era leading up to the era reached by SKA, relativist particles and magnetic fields are expected to cause increased pressure in the interstellar environment because of higher levels of star formation activity in these early galaxies. This expectation was demonstrated in a new , but it will be seen whether SKA can confirm it.

Of course, thanks to the sensitivity and speed of detection, this new giant radio telescope will shed light on the most important topics in astrophysics, including the study of the formation of structures in the original universe, the birth of the first stars and galaxies, and the space evolution of galaxies, most of which will be studied by means of multiwave surveys covering various regions of the sky.