UF researchers started using a camera to detect magnetic fields in space in 2012 and will publish more results in May.

Astronomers used the UF-built infrared CanariCam to photograph an invisible magnetic field in the Milky Way’s center, said Charles Telesco, the UF department chair of astronomy, who helped build the CanariCam. The mappings of these magnetic fields will appear in the peer-reviewed astronomy journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in May, Telesco said. The research leads to a better understanding of how Earth, the solar system and the galaxy formed.

“The more we know about (what the camera shows), it gives us a better appreciation of the world,” Telesco said.

The researchers received two grants — for $275,000 in 2009 and $127,000 in 2015 — from the National Science Foundation, Telesco said.

The camera is attached to the Gran Telescopio Canarias telescope on the La Palma island, which is part of Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa, he said.

The 1.6-foot-tall and 3.3-foot-across hexagonal camera detects how light travels, and that can answer questions about space and humanity’s place in the universe, Telesco said.

“We want to control our environment; we want it so serve us, and at the same time we also want to preserve it,” Telesco said.