X-ray Sky image covers half the Universe© MPE, J. Sanders for the eROSITA consortium

The German eROSITA team has just unveiled a new X-ray sky image covering half the Universe, with groundbreaking data from the first-ever complete survey of the sky.

This survey, called eRASS1, boasts an impressive catalog with nearly 900,000 distinct sources, making it the largest. Alongside this data release, the consortium has published a series of scientific papers unveiling new findings, from exploring exoplanet habitability to uncovering colossal cosmic structures.

In just six months of observation, eROSITA has already surpassed all previous X-ray astronomy records by detecting an unprecedented number of sources. Now available globally, this data promises to revolutionize our understanding of the universe’s high-energy phenomena.

The eRASS1 survey, conducted from December 2019 to June 2020, captured 170 million X-ray photons within the telescope’s most sensitive energy range. These photons were meticulously processed and calibrated to construct the catalog, revealing concentrations of sources against the expansive X-ray background.

Following eRASS1, eROSITA continues to scan the sky, gathering additional surveys that will be released in the years to come.

X-ray Sky image covers half the Universe© MPE, J. Sanders for the eROSITA consortium

Covering half of the X-ray sky, the eRASS1 catalog offers a wealth of information, including over 710,000 active galactic nuclei, 180,000 X-ray-emitting stars in the Milky Way, 12,000 galaxy clusters, and various other intriguing sources such as X-ray binaries, supernova remnants, and pulsars.

Andrea Merloni, eROSITA principal investigator and first author of the eROSITA catalog paper, explained:

“These are mind-blowing numbers for X-ray astronomy. We’ve detected more sources in 6 months than the big flagship missions XMM-Newton and Chandra have done in nearly 25 years of operation.”

source Max Planck Institute