Sunshine Recorder

Link: Galactic Lobes

Scientists have discovered gigantic structures 25,000 light-years tall ballooning above and below the Milky Way. Within each curved lobe, extremely energetic electrons of unknown origin interact with lower-energy light to generate the gamma rays that define these bubbles. The galactic-scale structures could be remnants from a burst of star formation or leftovers from an eruption by the supermassive black hole at our galaxy’s center. Scientists aren’t sure yet, but the more they learn about this amazing structure, which may be only a few million years old, the better we’ll understand the Milky Way. While not immediately visible to NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, these unexpected features were brought into sharp relief by a group of scientists who processed data from Fermi’s all-sky map. The visualization below shows how artists imagine the lobes would appear if gamma rays were visible to the naked eye.


Across the Center of Centaurus A: A fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, gigantic glowing gas clouds, and imposing dark dust lanes surrounds the central region of the active galaxy Centaurus A. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope has been processed to present a natural color picture of this cosmic maelstrom. Infrared images from the Hubble have also shown that hidden at the center of this activity are what seem to be disks of matter spiraling into a black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun. Centaurus A itself is apparently the result of a collision of two galaxies and the left over debris is steadily being consumed by the black hole. Astronomers believe that such black hole central engines generate the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A and other active galaxies. But for an active galaxy Centaurus A is close, a mere 10 million light-years away, and is a relatively convenient laboratory for exploring these powerful sources of energy.

Across the Center of Centaurus A: A fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, gigantic glowing gas clouds, and imposing dark dust lanes surrounds the central region of the active galaxy Centaurus A. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope has been processed to present a natural color picture of this cosmic maelstrom. Infrared images from the Hubble have also shown that hidden at the center of this activity are what seem to be disks of matter spiraling into a black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun. Centaurus A itself is apparently the result of a collision of two galaxies and the left over debris is steadily being consumed by the black hole. Astronomers believe that such black hole central engines generate the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A and other active galaxies. But for an active galaxy Centaurus A is close, a mere 10 million light-years away, and is a relatively convenient laboratory for exploring these powerful sources of energy.


 In the Arms of M83:  Big, bright, and beautiful, spiral galaxy M83 lies a mere twelve million light-years away, near the southeastern tip of the very long constellation Hydra.  This cosmic close-up, a mosaic based on data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, traces dark dust and young, blue star clusters along prominent spiral arms that lend M83 its nickname, The Southern Pinwheel.   Typically found near the edges of the thick dust lanes, a wealth of reddish star forming regions also suggest another popular moniker for M83, The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy.  Dominated by light from older stars, the bright yellowish core of M83 lies at the upper right.  The core is also bright at x-ray energies that reveal a high concentration of neutron stars and black holes left from an intense burst of star formation.  In fact, M83 is a member of a group of galaxies that includes active galaxy Centaurus A.  The close-up field of view spans over 25,000 light-years at the estimated distance of M83.

In the Arms of M83: Big, bright, and beautiful, spiral galaxy M83 lies a mere twelve million light-years away, near the southeastern tip of the very long constellation Hydra. This cosmic close-up, a mosaic based on data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, traces dark dust and young, blue star clusters along prominent spiral arms that lend M83 its nickname, The Southern Pinwheel. Typically found near the edges of the thick dust lanes, a wealth of reddish star forming regions also suggest another popular moniker for M83, The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy. Dominated by light from older stars, the bright yellowish core of M83 lies at the upper right. The core is also bright at x-ray energies that reveal a high concentration of neutron stars and black holes left from an intense burst of star formation. In fact, M83 is a member of a group of galaxies that includes active galaxy Centaurus A. The close-up field of view spans over 25,000 light-years at the estimated distance of M83.