Astronomers Detect Giant Cosmic Bubbles Emitting Shockwaves Through Galaxy

Monday, 04 March 2019 - 12:29PM
Astronomy
Astrophysics
Monday, 04 March 2019 - 12:29PM
Astronomers Detect Giant Cosmic Bubbles Emitting Shockwaves Through Galaxy
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Screenshot: YouTube Chandra Observatory
A team of astronomers using data from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a pair of gigantic gaseous "superbubbles" blasting highly charged particles across space form the center of NGC 3079, a galaxy located 67 million light years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. 


According to NASA, the bubbles are 4,900 and 3,600 light years across. As a point of reference, one light year is approximately 6 trillion miles and, as Live Science notes, Neptune's orbit around the sun is a relatively scant 5.6 billion miles: one one-thousandth of a light year. Although the bubbles emit x-ray, optical, and radio waves that make them detectable to NASA's equipment, scientists are still uncertain to how they form or what causes them, though some believe that they are the result of matter being sucked into supermassive black holes that then regurgitate huge fields of energy. At least some of this energy travels outward in the form of cosmic rays: highly-charged subatomic particles that bombard the Earth. Interestingly enough, similar bubbles are created when stars are formed


The researchers' findings were published last week in The Astrophysical Journal

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