Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11/10 Moment of Zen: Space Bubble

Scientists Excited At Cluelessness About Bubbles

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, which will be 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, [but] what it’s apparently not is dark matter, the mysterious something that astronomers say makes up a quarter of the universe and holds galaxies together.

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