The eROSITA X-ray telescope onboard SRG took 182 days to complete its first full sweep of the sky. What it returned is nothing short of phenomenal.
It brought to life a new map of the universe that contains more than one million objects. Most of the new sources are active galactic nuclei at cosmological distances and we now have a complete view of the hot baryons in the Milky Way.
“This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe,” said Peter Predehl, the Principal Investigator of eROSITA at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). “We see such a wealth of detail - the beauty of the images is really stunning.”
This image from eROSITA is about 4 times deeper than the previous all-sky survey by the ROSAT telescope produced 30 years ago. It has provided around 10 times more sources.
The new image reveals in detail the structure of the hot gas in the Milky Way itself, and the circum-galactic medium, which surrounds it. The eROSITA X-ray map also showcases X-ray binary stars containing neutron stars, black holes or white dwarves, and supernova remnants in our own and other nearby galaxies.
The first all-sky map from eROSITA was eagerly awaited because it provided the X-ray data to match large sky areas that have already been covered at many other wavelengths. Scientists required these other surveys to identify the X-ray sources and understand their nature.
The survey also includes images of rare and exotic phenomena, such as transients and variables, flares from compact objects, merging neutron stars, and stars being swallowed by black holes.
“eROSITA often sees unexpected bursts of X-rays from the sky,” explained Salvato. “We need to alert ground-based telescopes immediately to understand what’s producing them.”