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Radio Signals from Penticton - listening to the heart beat of our Galaxy

The scientific research within the Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR) in Bonn comprises stellar physics, the physics of galaxies and the large-scale universe. Research topics include star formation, young stellar objects, late stages of stellar evolution and pulsars, furthermore the interstellar medium of the Milky Way and external galaxies and physics of the Galactic center and its direct environment.


Images: Maik Wolleben & MPIfR

The radio telescopes of the MPIfR include the 100 meter radio telescope near Effelsberg (see figure) and the new 12 meter APEX telescope at 5000 meter altitude in the Chilean Atacama desert. Technical departments of the institute are developing receivers also for other radio and infrared telescopes, e.g. the airborne observatory SOFIA, the infrared satellite Herschel and the optical/near infrared interferometers VLTI and LBT.

At art façade the map of polarized radio emission of the complete northern sky, a research project of Mark Wolleben is presented. The image shows a part of the radiation in this part, the so called "North Polar Spur", probably a rest of a close super nova extending on the northern sky. Images like this are the result of an intensive process of collecting and evaluating data. Presenting the raw data from four different channels at the art façade the way there is documented live.

Maik Wolleben is a doctoral student at MPIfR. Observations for his research project, are performed with the 26 meter radio telescope of DRAO (Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, National Research Council, Canada). DRAO/NRC is a radioastronomical research institute close to Penticton in British columbia in the western part of Canada. Besides the 26 meter radio telescope, the principal instrument of the institute is the Synthesis Radio Telescope, which comprises seven 9m dishes switched together in interferometer mode. One of the main research projects is the Canadian Galactic Plane Survey - a large-scale and very detailed survey of hydrogen gas in our galaxy. (Norbert Junkes)

Superposition of the four transmitted channels of the 26 meter radio telescope

Links:
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie (MPIfR), Bonn/Germany
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO/NRC), Penticton/Canada
Project Site of Maik Wolleben

Gallery of Radio Telescopes
Basics of Radio Astronomy/ NASA