Unlocking Life’s Mysteries

Much of my research focuses on the astrophysical environments of galaxy clusters and cosmic magnetism. A brief summary can be found below.



Using radio telescopes, I study sources of non-thermal emission, such as radio galaxies. The gold structure in this image shows the flow of plasma from the centre of a galaxy's supermassive black hole, the relativistic speeds of electrons in a magnetic field produce the non-thermal emission. This image was created with Purify, using state of the art image reconstruction (Image Credit: Pratley et al., 2018).


Radio astronomy provides the only method for studying magnetic fields in the distant universe. Using the Faraday effect, I investigate magnetic fields in radio galaxies and galaxy clusters. This image shows the imprint of a cluster magnetic field due to the Faraday effect, known as rotation measure (Image Credit: Pratley et al., 2013).


The largest scale structures in our Universe consist of filaments of matter and clusters of galaxies. As the universe evolves, these clusters merge, generating massive shock waves and turbulence in the intra-cluster medium. This image shows two shock fronts known as relics, and a region at the centre where turbulence is expected (Image Credit: Jonhston-Hollitt & Pratley, 2017).


Measuring the environment of a galaxy cluster is difficult, but important for understanding the evolution of our Universe. Using optical, radio, and x-ray wavelengths, it is possible uncover the astrophysical processes of the cluster environment. This image shows a radio galaxy (red) falling into the centre of the intra-cluster medium (purple), with the optical galaxies shown in white (Image Credit: Pratley et al., 2013).


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©2018 by Luke Pratley.