Michael W Eastwood


A three-color image of the sky seen by the OVRO-LWA.

The Owens Valley Long Wavelength Array (OVRO-LWA) is a low-frequency (roughly 30 to 85 MHz) radio telescope located at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO) near Big Pine, California. Instead of a large mirror, the OVRO-LWA is composed of 288 antennas that work together to detect radio waves arriving at Earth from the far reaches of the cosmos.

If you look up at the night sky with your own eyes, you can see stars, the moon, and other planets (like Mars and Jupiter). On a dark night you can see the Milky Way, and with the help of a small telescope or binoculars you can see star clusters, nebulae, and other galaxies.

The radio sky as seen by the OVRO-LWA is very different. The plane of the Milky Way, our own galaxy, glows intensely bright from the synchrotron radiation of electrons trapped in the plane of the galaxy, but moving at speeds near the speed of light. The cooling remnants of stars that died thousands of years ago in spectacular supernova explosions are plainly visible, and distant galaxies fill the sky like stars due to their supermassive-black-hole-powered radio emission.

Over the course of 28 hours beginning on February 17, 2017, the OVRO-LWA captured, to date, the highest resolution picture of the sky below 100 MHz. The image shown above is composed from pictures at 36.528 MHz (red), 52.224 MHz (green), and 73.152 MHz (blue). The large blank spot in the lower right-hand side is simply the piece of southern sky that is not visible from OVRO in the northern hemisphere.


The raw Healpix FITS files for these maps can be downloaded from LAMBDA after a one month proprietary period (from the publication date).

If you would like to be notified when the sky maps become publicly available, please fill out this Google form.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


The associated publication will be posted on the arXiv soon.