FP TrendingJun 09, 2020 13:40:46 IST
In a remarkable first, astronomers have observed visible light from the two enormous outflows of high-energy gas,Â known as theÂ Fermi bubbles,Â inÂ our Milky Way galaxy.Â
The research was carried out by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Whitewater and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. They announced their findings on 3 June at the 236th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held virtually for the first time since 1899 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists measured the emission of lightÂ by hydrogen and nitrogen gasses in the Fermi bubbles at the sameÂ location as a recent ultraviolet absorption calculation made by the Hubble Space Telescope.
“We combined those two measurements of emission and absorption to estimate the density, pressure and temperature of the ionized gas, and that lets us better understand where this gas is coming from,” Dhanesh Krishnarao, lead author of the new study, told University of Wisconsin-Madison press.Â
The Fermi bubbles, which wereÂ firstÂ spottedÂ in 2010, spew out light in the form of a highly-energetic radiationÂ calledÂ gamma rays. The towering structures â€“ each of which is around 25,000 light-years tall â€“ are considered to be relics of an ancient outburst of gas from the galaxyâ€™s center. While these structures haveÂ captured the imagination and attention ofÂ many scientists and astrophysicists, the source of these bubbles is still unknown.
Scientists have theorized that the outflowÂ couldÂ have been the result of the black hole at the center of the galaxy, or emissions caused byÂ high-energy explosionsÂ duringÂ stars formation.
“The other significant thing is that we now have the possibility of measuring the density and pressure and the velocity structure in many locations,” with the all-sky WHAM telescope, says Bob Benjamin, a professor of astronomy at UW-Whitewater and co-author of the study.
The study revealed that within the bubbles, gas is expanding outward, its motion altering the apparent wavelength of its light.Â Material that is closer toÂ our solar system is moving toward it, appearing bluer in the image, while more distant gas is moving away, appearing redder.Â
The American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Â has statedÂ that a supermassive black hole at the center of Milky Way galaxy unleashed an enormous burst of energy about 3.5 million years ago.Â The black hole explosion is said to have been caused by a large hydrogen cloud up to 1,00,000 times the Sun’s mass. The explosion setÂ cones of blistering ultraviolet radiation above and below the plane of the galaxy â€“ stretchingÂ farÂ and wide into space.Â
Could this stunning relic be related to this extraordinary event?
There’s an open question begging for an answer.
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