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15th of August 2022
First ASKAP images from Setonix
by Wasim Raja and Pascal Elahi
The enormous data rates from new-generation radio telescopes such as ASKAP (Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder) need highly capable software running on supercomputers. In a major milestone on the path to full deployment, the ASKAP team has now demonstrated the integration of our processing software ASKAPsoft on its newly upgraded supercomputer, Setonix. An outcome of this exercise has been a new image of the supernova remnant (SNR), G261.9+5.5. Estimated to be more than a million years old, and 10,000--15,000 light-years away, this object was first classified as a supernova remnant in our Galaxy by CSIRO’s Eric Hill in 1967, using observations from the 64m Parkes Radio Telescope, Murriyang. The material ejected material from the supernova explosion ploughs outwards into the surrounding interstellar medium at supersonic speeds, sweeping up gas and any material it encounters along the way, compressing and heating them up in the process. Additionally, the shockwave would also compress the interstellar magnetic fields. The emissions we see in our radio image of G261.9+5.5 are from highly energetic electrons trapped in these compressed fields. They bear information about the history of the exploded star and aspects of the surrounding interstellar medium. The structure of this remnant revealed in the deep ASKAP radio image opens up the possibility of studying this remnant and the physical properties (such as magnetic fields and high-energy electron densities) of the interstellar medium in unprecedented detail. More information is given in this article in The Conversation by Wasim Raja and Pascal Elahi. (Image credit: CSIRO ASKAP Science Data Processing/Pawsey Supercomputing Research Centre)

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