While attending a meeting in Charlottesville, I chatted to Brian Kent, who has been doing some exciting work with the Montage image mosaic engine. He is part of a team that has been building mosaics of the sky at the radio wavelength of 21 cm. The observations are being made with the Arecibo 1000-ft (305 m) radio telescope in Puerto Rico, the world’s largest radio telescope.
When complete, the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA survey (ALFALFA) will cover 7000 square degrees of sky. The 100 MHz bandbass detects neutral hydrogen (HI) in both the Milky Way and external galaxies. The survey will detect over 20,000 sources out to 250 megaparsecs in HI and make the largest collection of HI catalogs, images, and high quality radio spectra ever obtained by astronomers.
ALFALFA has used Montage to create a large wide-field mosaic of high galactic latitude HI (b > 20 degrees). Montage allows for the combination and re-projection of over 1200 images in dual polarization from data obtained by the survey’s observing team. The project collaboration, led by Cornell University, consists of many faculty, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students working on a wide variety of science projects.
I wish to thank Dr. Brian Kent for permission to use the image shown and for contributing content to this post.