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New map of the universe unveils a stunning X-ray view of the cosmos

A map of the universe made using over a million X-ray sources observed by eROSITA.  (Image credit: Jeremy Sanders, Hermann Brunner, eSASS team (MPE); Eugene Churazov, Marat Gilfanov (IKI))

Wish you had X-ray vision? An extraordinary new map showcases the universe in striking, X-ray radiation.

Scientists created this stunning X-ray map of the universe using eROSITA (Extended Roentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array), an instrument on the German-Russian satellite mission Spectrum-Röntgen-Gamma, or Spektr-RG

The scientists completed a full sweep of the sky over the course of about six months, looking for sources of X-ray radiation — a type of high-energy electromagnetic radiation. These X-ray sources include black holes, galaxy clusters and leftover remnants from supernova explosions.

In scouring the skies, eROSITA spotted over a million sources of X-ray radiation from all across the cosmos, with most of the sources being active galactic nuclei, or the luminous, compact region at the center of galaxies. This number of sources roughly doubles the number of known X-ray sources that have been discovered over the 60-year history of X-ray astronomy, according to a statement from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany. By studying clusters of galaxies with this new, detailed map, researchers hope to track how these cosmic structures grow. 

"This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe," Peter Predehl, the Principal Investigator of eROSITA at MPE, said in the same statement. "We see such a wealth of detail — the beauty of the images is really stunning."

Because it is not only stunning but incredibly detailed, this new X-ray map could "revolutionize" the way that we look at the cosmos, Kirpal Nandra, head of the high-energy astrophysics group at MPE, said in the same statement.

"With a million sources in just six months, eROSITA has already revolutionized X-ray astronomy, but this is just a taste of what's to come," Nandra said. "This combination of sky area and depth is transformational. We are already sampling a cosmological volume of the hot Universe much larger than has been possible before. Over the next few years, we'll be able to probe even further, out to where the first giant cosmic structures and supermassive black holes were forming." 

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  • Catastrophe
    "eROSITA spotted over a million sources of X-ray radiation from all across the cosmos, with most of the sources being active galactic nuclei, or the luminous, compact region at the center of galaxies. This number of sources roughly doubles the number of known X-ray sources that have been discovered over the 60-year history of X-ray astronomy"

    Really EXTRAordinary!
    Reply
  • rod
    The article stated "This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe," Peter Predehl, the Principal Investigator of eROSITA at MPE, said in the same statement. "We see such a wealth of detail — the beauty of the images is really stunning." Because it is not only stunning but incredibly detailed, this new X-ray map could "revolutionize" the way that we look at the cosmos, Kirpal Nandra, head of the high-energy astrophysics group at MPE, said in the same statement."

    My note *the beauty of the images*, I am glad the Earth is not orbiting close to any of these high energy X-ray sources :) It does raise questions. Lifetime of such high energy X-ray sources compared to the Hubble time as an example.
    Reply
  • Stephen J. Bauer
    I don't see how they can promote this as a map of the universe. Even the CMB map was only a chunk of what we could picture of the observable universe, from one direction. That being said, it is interesting to see the xray dispersion from the black hole at the center of our galaxy.
    Reply
  • Torbjorn Larsson
    Stephen J. Bauer said:
    I don't see how they can promote this as a map of the universe. Even the CMB map was only a chunk of what we could picture of the observable universe, from one direction. That being said, it is interesting to see the xray dispersion from the black hole at the center of our galaxy.

    The cosmic background radiation observations cover the whole sky and is usually presented in an all-sky Mollweide projection https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background#Microwave_background_observations ].

    The eROSITA is also all-sky and presented similarly, see the image. It is a map "of X-ray radiation from all across the cosmos, " Just Read The Instructions.

    Or maybe you meant something else?
    Reply
  • Alka
    It was just awesome. Scientists have done such an awesome job using eROSITA instrument. Hope these kind of researches go more further and give us an exceptional result which will go beyond our imagination...
    Reply
  • KC Strom
    At the risk of showing my ignorance (again/still), is there a chance one of these points of "light" has been traveling since the BB? If so, is it possible one of the x-ray emissions is approaching the "edge" of the known universe?

    Here's the question: What is the current thinking about what happens when x-ray radiation hits the boundry (if that's even the right word) of the universe?
    Reply
  • Stephen J. Bauer
    Torbjorn Larsson said:
    The cosmic background radiation observations cover the whole sky and is usually presented in an all-sky Mollweide projection https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background#Microwave_background_observations ].

    The eROSITA is also all-sky and presented similarly, see the image. It is a map "of X-ray radiation from all across the cosmos, " Just Read The Instructions.

    Or maybe you meant something else?

    All I had to do to come up with this implied promotion was to read the title of the article.
    Reply
  • AJW
    KC Strom said:
    At the risk of showing my ignorance (again/still), is there a chance one of these points of "light" has been traveling since the BB? If so, is it possible one of the x-ray emissions is approaching the "edge" of the known universe?

    Here's the question: What is the current thinking about what happens when x-ray radiation hits the boundry (if that's even the right word) of the universe?
    KC, the light from any of these sources will never reach this boundary you refer to, because the expansion of the universe prevents this.
    Reply
  • Stephen J. Bauer
    AJW said:
    KC, the light from any of these sources will never reach this boundary you refer to, because the expansion of the universe prevents this.
    Based on the current cosmology, there universe has no boundary. The condition of the universe is evolving. Because of this universal evolution, while the energy is the consistent with the what was around since the Bg Bang, its condition of this energy in existence now includes development of planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, nebulas, supe galaxy clusters, and so on.
    Reply
  • KC Strom
    Thank you, gentlemen, for your replies.

    I was afraid the Expanding Universe would be the answer. I struggle a bit with that concept. But, no matter, I gather that there is currently no credible alternative to the Expanding Universe that can explain our observations.

    The idea that nothing is being displaced as the universe expands does not fit well with my limited observations on the planet earth. Same holds for the ultimate contraction.
    Reply