German and Russian astronomers joined forces to map the entire sky. It’s an ambitious project that, by 2015, will deliver eight maps that will come together as one exhaustive map. Launched in July 2019, Spektr-RG orbital astrophysical observatory was built by experts from the Russian Institute of Space Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics of the Max Planck Society (Germany).
The observatory possesses two X-ray telescopes: the German eROSITA and the Russian ART-XC. Both of them have unprecedented penetration power that will be used as an X-ray survey of the sky details.
For the first stage of the program, the two nations divided the sky in two, and each one started to investigate its side. By now, 20,637 square degrees from the total area of the celestial sphere measuring 41,253 square degrees were put in place into one map.
Russian-German Spektr-RG plans to map the Milky Way and solve its mysteries
A fascinating part of the sky proves to be the North Polar. With a lower brightness of the radiation, there is lesser gas and dust, so the visibility is better. More than 125,000 objects were found, most of them at billions of light-years away. The presented details are more than impressive, and Spektr-RG sends new pictures every day.
“We see on it, tens of thousands of stars with active coronas that are much brighter in x-rays than the sun, remnants of supernova explosions, pulsars, accreting white dwarfs, and many other types of galactic sources of x-ray radiation. Many of these objects are observed for the first time,” says Academician Rashid Sunyaev, a supervisor of the project.
By now, the Russian-German Spektr-RG telescope cover two-quarters of the all-sky. Eight more maps are one the way, one per year for every team. With all the maps combine, we’ll finally know more about the Milky Way galaxy.