Galaxy’s Mysterious ‘Bubbles’ Spew Gas At Two Million Miles An Hour

milky way bubbles

Five years after astronomers discovered a pair of mysterious plumes of radiation at the heart of our galaxy, scientists may be one step closer to understanding exactly what these ginormous “bubbles” are made of and how they came to be.

The so-called “Fermi Bubbles” extend about 25,000 lights-years above and below the Milky Way’s galactic plane and were first spotted in 2010 by NASA’s gamma ray-detecting Fermi telescope. Scientists believe the bubbles are evidence of an ancient cataclysm at the Milky Way’s center.

Now, a new study suggests the violent event occurred some 2.5 million to 4 million years ago, and that it blasted gas outward at speeds of up to two million miles an hour.

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This graphic shows how NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope probed light from a distant quasar to analyze the Fermi Bubbles.

For the research, scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore used instrumentation on the Hubble Space Telescope to study ultraviolet light from a faraway quasar as it passed through one of the bubbles–the astronomers liken this light to “a needle piercing a balloon.” The light carries information about the speed, composition, temperature, and mass of the gas —> Read More Here


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