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    Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

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    Ben Wars
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    Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by Ben Wars on Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:03 am

    The unexpected discovery suggests a colossal event in our galaxy's past, releasing energy equivalent to 100,000 exploding stars. But scientists don't yet know what that event might have been.


    This NASA illustration depicts the twin bubbles of high-energy gamma

    rays protruding from the Milky Way, which are believed to be nearly as

    big as the galaxy itself. (NASA / November 9, 2010)



    Startled astronomers said Tuesday they had discovered two massive bubbles of gamma-ray energy extending 25,000 light-years above and below the plane of the Milky Way galaxy like a squat hourglass.

    "They're big, they're sharp-edged and they contain a lot of energy," astrophysicist Douglas Finkbeiner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., said in a news conference. Finkbeiner led a team that used data from NASA's 2-year-old orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope to discover the bubbles hiding behind a fog of gamma rays.

    That fog occurs when particles moving at or near the speed of light interact with interstellar gas.

    "My first response when I saw these figures was, 'Wow!' " astronomer David Spergel of Princeton University said at the news conference. Spergel, who was not involved in the research, added that "we think we know a lot about our own galaxy," and yet the bubbles, which are almost as big as the galaxy itself, were totally unexpected.

    Researchers do not yet know what produced the bubbles, but the fact that they appear to have relatively sharp edges suggests that they were produced in a single event. Finkbeiner said that would have required the rapid release of energy equivalent to about 100,000 supernovae, or exploding stars.

    One possibility is that there was a burst of star formation in the center of the galaxy producing massive, short-lived stars that exploded and ejected a great deal of gas and dust over a few million years.

    Another possibility is that the black hole at the center of the galaxy — which has a mass about 4 million times that of the sun — shot out a stream of particles over a much shorter time scale, perhaps 10,000 to 100,000 years.

    Though there is no evidence that the black hole has such a jet today, it may have had one in the past. Similar jets have been observed in other galaxies. Starbursts have also been seen driving enormous gas outflows in other galaxies.

    "Whatever the energy source behind these huge bubbles may be, it is connected to many deep questions in astrophysics," Spergel said.

    The report will be published Wednesday in the Astrophysical Journal.

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    Re: Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by Teacrazer on Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:21 pm

    Whoa those gamma-ray bubbles look so pretty i just wanna touch them lol.. But gamma isnt that like like very harmful rays? I guess beauty is indeed deadly
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    Re: Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by Meesh on Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:33 pm

    Teacrazer wrote:Whoa those gamma-ray bubbles look so pretty i just wanna touch them lol.. But gamma isnt that like like very harmful rays? I guess beauty is indeed deadly

    LOL Teanies, if you touch it either you will lose your finger and everything that's attached to it or you will turn into the Incredible Hulk. Teanie smash! Gamma rays are highly penetrative and have the highest energy..it'll pass right through your skin..into all your little cells becoming radioactive, pretty much damaging your cells and tissue. o_o no touchie Teanie!

    annnd let's hope those gamma bubbles don't make their way over to us any time soon. The earth's atmosphere can only shield so much radiation..but even in small doses could be dangerous..

    Long story short..we're either going to die from a sun burst fart and burn to death..or a gamma bubble fart. D: Apocalypse!!!

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    Re: Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by Ben Wars on Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:27 pm

    Lol imagine it reaches us by 2010? O_O. This just proves to show how little we actually know of our universe... So much stuff can be happening out there.
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    Re: Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by Teacrazer on Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:30 pm

    Meesh wrote:
    Teacrazer wrote:Whoa those gamma-ray bubbles look so pretty i just wanna touch them lol.. But gamma isnt that like like very harmful rays? I guess beauty is indeed deadly

    LOL Teanies, if you touch it either you will lose your finger and everything that's attached to it or you will turn into the Incredible Hulk. Teanie smash! Gamma rays are highly penetrative and have the highest energy..it'll pass right through your skin..into all your little cells becoming radioactive, pretty much damaging your cells and tissue. o_o no touchie Teanie!

    annnd let's hope those gamma bubbles don't make their way over to us any time soon. The earth's atmosphere can only shield so much radiation..but even in small doses could be dangerous..

    Long story short..we're either going to die from a sun burst fart and burn to death..or a gamma bubble fart. D: Apocalypse!!!


    Whoa i like that nickname you gave me Teanie Smile!! Its like a combo of my real name and game name lol. Aw... i <3 u meesh for giving me that name! Lol i would probably perfer to dissolve within the gamma ray bubbles and be apart of the beauty then become a freakazoid monster Q.Q!

    lmao burst fart and heat of burning to death =/! Sounds painful but at least its a fast way to end then a ice age slowly deveolping and enveloping us in iciles of sharp death and slow pain =/
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    Re: Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by Meesh on Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:53 pm

    <3 Teanie haha

    Tbh though, if the sun farted on the earth and burnt us all to an instant crisp-quick and painless. If we were to freeze..our bodies would just shut down slowly..as if it were going in sleep mode. We wouldn't realize it either way.

    There are a lot of unexplained things out there-on the earth and in the entire universe we won't ever discover..it's just neat to see and experience what humans have discovered thus far. It's in our being and existence to find the answers to questions- constantly researching and discovering who we are and the world we live in..our existence period. But that is quite a find. With the tools and technology we have today, we can discover and learn about things that are redonkulously out of our reach!

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    Re: Huge gamma-ray bubbles found extending from Milky Way

    Post by SPADEZ on Wed Nov 10, 2010 10:17 pm

    Umm... I think we just discovered Heaven & Hell!! O_O

    BTW, 1 lightyear is 6 trillion miles which means 25,000 light years is 150,000,000,000,000,000 miles tall. O_O



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