Galaxy Cluster Abell 194. The MeerKAT radio image taken at wavelenghts 18-33 cm is shown in orange, with an optical image dominated by normal galaxies shown in white. Image credit: SARAO, SDSS.
The MeerKAT Galaxy Cluster Legacy Survey (MGCLS) has released a first comprehensive paper (Knowles et al. 2021), publishing more than 50 newly discovered, astonishing patches of radio emission in galaxy clusters. One of the released images shows two giant radio galaxies (more than one million light-years from end to end) at the center of a large group of galaxies in the cluster Abell 194, revealing the presence of relatively narrow magnetic filaments in the region, as well as complex interactions between the radio emission from the two galaxies. “The quality of the radio images from MeerKAT located in the South African Karoo desert is breathtaking. The level of detail that can now be seen is really transformative for our understanding of cosmic plasmas" says Prof. Marcus Brüggen of Hamburger Sternwarte, who is one of the 40 scientists participating in this Survey. This 'astronomical bonanza' contains also many emission regions, which are yet not well understood. Some are isolated features, illuminating winds and intergalactic shock waves in the surrounding plasma. The MGCLS will contribute to research areas as the regulation of star formation in galaxies, the physical processes of jet interactions, and the study of faint cooler hydrogen gas – the fuel of stars – in a variety of environments.