Cambridge (Massachusetts) [US], January 25 (ANI): Tens of thousands of twinkling stars surround the Earth as it sits in a 1,000-light-year-wide void surrounded by thousands of young stars. Many people are curious about how these stars were formed. Astronomers from the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian and the Space Telescope Science Institute(STScI), have reconstructed the evolutionary history in our galaxy. They show how a series of events that began 14 million years ago lead to the formation of a large bubble that is responsible for all the young stars. Catherine Zucker, an astronomer and expert in data visualization, said that this is a true origin story. She completed the work while a fellowship at CfA.
The paper’s main figure, a 3D spacetime animation that showed how all star-forming regions and young stars were located within 500 lightyears of Earth, was revealed by the paper. It shows that the Local Bubble, also known as the Local Bubble, is located on the surface. Although astronomers knew about its existence for decades, scientists can now see and understand how the Local Bubble formed and its effect on the surrounding gas. The spacetime animation was created using a wealth of data and data science techniques. It showed how supernovae, which first erupted 14 million years ago, pushed interstellar gases outwards, creating a bubble structure that is ripe for star formation.
Seven well-known star-forming areas or molecular cloud (dense regions in space that allow stars to form) are found today on the bubble’s surface. Zucker, who is now a NASA Hubble Fellow at STScI, stated that approximately 15 supernovae were involved in the formation of the Local Bubble we see today. Astronomers observed that the odd-shaped bubble does not remain dormant, and is still growing slowly.
Zucker stated that the bubble is moving at 4 miles per second. “It’s coasting along at about 4 miles per second,” Zucker said. Alyssa Goodman (Harvard professor, Center for Astrophysics astronomer) said that this is an amazing detective story driven by both theory and data. She was also a co-author of the study and creator of glue, data visualization software which enabled the discovery. We can reconstruct the history of star formation using a variety of clues, including supernova models and stellar motions.
Joao Alves, co-author and professor at the University of Vienna, said that “when the first supernovae created the Local Bubble, our Sun wasn’t far from the action.” “But five million years ago, the Sun made its way through the galaxy and landed in the bubble. Now, the Sun is almost right in the center of the bubble because of luck.
As humans look out at space from close to the Sun, today’s human eyes have a front row view of the star formation process occurring on the bubbles’ surface. Astronomers first believed that the Milky Way was home to superbubbles nearly 50 years ago. Goodman asked, “Now we have proof. And what are the chances we are right in the middle of one? She explained that statistically it was unlikely that the Sun would be in a giant bubble, even though such bubbles are very rare in our Milky Way Galaxy. Goodman compared the discovery to a Milky Way with holes that look like swiss cheese. Supernovae blast out the cheese and create new stars in the area.
The team then planned to map more interstellar spheres, which included Michael Foley, a Harvard doctoral student. This would give them a complete 3D view of the shapes and sizes. Astronomers would be able to chart out the relationships between bubbles and each other to help them understand how dying stars play in the birth of new stars and the evolution of galaxies such as the Milky Way. Zucker asked, “Where do these bubblies touch?” What is the interaction between them? What is the role of superbubbles in the birth of stars such as our Sun in the Milky Way?