MeerKAT spots new galaxies ‘in plain sight’

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Optical image of the galaxy group with three-colour optical images of each member galaxy. The red outline indicates the extent of the neutral hydrogen gas around each galaxy. The central image, also showing the many thousands of background galaxies, is one degree on each side, large enough to fit four full moons.
Optical image of the galaxy group with three-colour optical images of each member galaxy. The red outline indicates the extent of the neutral hydrogen gas around each galaxy. The central image, also showing the many thousands of background galaxies, is one degree on each side, large enough to fit four full moons.
MIGHTEE/HSC Project

A study led by a University of Pretoria (UP) Master’s student using South Africa’s MeerKAT telescope has led to the discovery of a group of 20 galaxies.

This large galaxy group is possibly the most neutral hydrogen gas-rich group yet discovered. It is the first time this group has been identified, despite being in a very well-studied area of the sky.

The research was led by Shilpa Ranchod, an MSc student at UP’s Department of Physics, supervised by Professor Roger Deane, founder of the UP Radio Astronomy Research Group, and now Extraordinary Professor.

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