Millions of years ago, a powerful explosion shook the center of the river the Milky way, sending double shock waves exploding across the sky. These waves bulldozed across the galaxy, heating all the gas and dust in their path and leaving behind two hot, highly energizing gamma-ray spots.
Today, those blobs – called now Close Bubbles – stretches half the width of our galaxy. One lobe rises for 25,000 light-years above the disk of the Milky Way, and the other extends just as high beneath it. Since their discovery in 2010, bubbles have been a monolithic mystery of our galaxy – and now we know they are not alone.
As scientists continue to study our galaxy at every wavelength of light imaginable, strange new structures within the Bubbles Fermi – from Plasma “chimneys” to swell slowly radio energy balloons – continues to appear. Now, a paper published on December 9 in the journal The nature reveals some of the biggest Fermi family structures: “eROSITA bubbles”.
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Visible only in X rays emissions, these new bubbles are considerably less energetic (and less hot) than Fermi blobs, but they are almost as gigantic, measuring about 45,000 light-years from end to end. Like Fermi bubbles, these hot gas globes rise above and below the galactic plane in a distinct hourglass shape, fixed in the galactic center at the point where the two blobs meet.
Given their similar shape and common midpoint, the Fermi and eROSITA bubbles are likely to have a physical connection and probably emerged from the same eruption of galactic fireworks millions of years ago, the authors wrote in their study. What caused the bubbles to blow in the first place is still a mystery, but astronomers suspect it involves a explosive explosion of energy from the central black hole of our galaxy, Sagittarius A *.
This explanation matches the new X-ray bubbles, the study authors wrote, taking into account the amount of energy needed to inflate them. The team calculated that creating these structures required an energy release equivalent to 100,000 supernovae (strong stellar explosions) – a figure equal to the X-ray energy releases observed in other galaxies with active black holes in the centers. their. Even if this hypothetical explosion is millions of years old, its traces would still be visible.
“The scars left by such outbreaks take a long time to heal,” said study co-author Andrea Merloni, a senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany. he said in a statement.
Merloni and his colleagues discovered X-ray bubbles using the eROSITA X-ray telescope, which orbits the cosmos aboard the Russian-German satellite Spektr-RG. The telescope scans the entire sky every six months, constantly updating our vision of the X-ray universe.
Originally published on Live Science.