Bubbles of Energy Are Found in Galaxy
2010-11-11 0:00

By Dennis Overbye | nytimes.com


From end to end, the newly discovered gamma-ray bubbles extend 50,000 light-years, or about half of the Milky Way’s diameter, as shown in this illustration.


Something big is going on at the center of the galaxy, and astronomers are happy to say they don’t know what it is.

A group of scientists working with data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope said Tuesday that they had discovered two bubbles of energy erupting from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The bubbles, they said at a news conference and in a paper to be published Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal, extend 25,000 light years up and down from each side of the galaxy and contain the energy equivalent to 100,000 supernova explosions.

“They’re big,” said Doug Finkbeiner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, leader of the team that discovered them.

The source of the bubbles is a mystery. One possibility is that they are fueled by a wave of star births and deaths at the center of the galaxy. Another option is a gigantic belch from the black hole known to reside, like Jabba the Hutt, at the center of the Milky Way. What it is apparently not is dark matter, the mysterious something that astronomers say makes up a quarter of the universe and holds galaxies together.

“Wow,” said David Spergel, an astrophysicist at Princeton who was not involved in the work.

“And we think we know a lot about our own galaxy,” Dr. Spergel added, noting that the bubbles were almost as big as the galaxy and yet unsuspected until now.

Jon Morse, head of astrophysics at NASA headquarters, said, “This shows again that the universe is full of surprises.”

One of the most surprised was Dr. Finkbeiner. A year ago he was part of a group led by Gregory Dobler of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, Calif., that said it had discerned the existence of a mysterious fog of high-energy particles buzzing around the center of the Milky Way. The particles manifested themselves as a haze of extra energy after all the known sources of gamma rays — the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation — had been subtracted from Fermi data that had recently been made public.

At the time, Dr. Finkbeiner and his colleagues speculated that the haze was produced by dark matter. The center of the galaxy is home to all manner of wild and woolly high-energy phenomena, including a gigantic black hole and violently spinning pulsars, but cosmological theories also suggest that dark matter would be concentrated there. Collisions of dark matter particles, the theory goes, could produce showers of gamma rays.

But in the follow-up analysis, the haze — besides being bigger than Dr. Finkbeiner and his colleagues had thought — turned out to have sharp boundaries, like, well, a bubble. Dark matter, according to the prevailing theory, should be more diffuse.

“Dark matter has been there billions of years,” Dr. Finkbeiner explained. “If something has been going on for billions of years, you wouldn’t expect a sharp edge.”

He and the other scientists said this did not mean that dark matter was not there clogging the center of the galaxy, but that it would be harder to see.

Source: nytimes.com

Red Ice Radio

Paul A. LaViolette - Earth Under Fire, Galactic Superwaves & Subquantum Kinetics

Susan Joy Rennison - A New Cosmic Age, Space Weather & Cosmic Radiation

John Major Jenkins - Galactic Alignment 2012 & Mayan Cosmology




Related Articles
Earth Passing Into the Cosmic "Energy Cloud"
Cosmic Hand Reaches for the Light
Life in the Milky Way: Do Galactic Cycles Influence Earth's Biological History?
The Cloud Mystery – Galactic influence on Earth' multi-million-year climate cycles


Latest News from our Front Page

Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
2015-01-30 23:32
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism. The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
2015-01-30 23:40
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself. Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
Alchemical Banksters
2015-01-30 22:39
This past week, the world's preeminent vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can't have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with ...
Men must prove a woman said ’Yes’ under tough new rape rules
2015-01-30 4:54
New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a ’toolkit’ to move rape investigations into the 21st century Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated. The Director of Public Prosecutions said it was ...
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule
2015-01-30 3:13
Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya? Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011. Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
More News »