Map of our interstellar bubble

Astronomers know about the ‘domestic bubble’ – it’s its name– For a long time, just as they were located, in our region of the galaxy, the places where the stars appeared. But this is the first time that two facts have been linked together. in a article Published January 12 in the magazine temper natureThey, led by astrophysicist Catherine Zucker, described the 3-D map of these different star-forming regions that they drew.

This map was made possible thanks to data from the European Gaia satellite. In its position since 2013 at point L2 – where the James Webb Space Telescope is currently operating – the satellite’s mission is, quite literally, to map our galaxy, the Milky Way: in the long run, it should have indicated the distance and speed of motion of a billion good stars.

The local bubble in question consists mostly of empty space inside: our solar system and neighboring stars. On the other hand, what Interesting From these astrophysicists to the bubble’s surface: This “crust” is a collection of gas and dust clouds, representing the remains of stars that have exploded in the past – we’re talking about at least 15 dead stars. And in some of the denser regions of this gas and dust, new stars are forming.

The irregular shape of this bubble can reveal the locations of stars that exploded millions of years ago: especially as this bubble continues to grow at a rate of 6 kilometers per second. As for our solar system, it is just a “passing” visitor: he was not born in this bubble, but rather entered it perhaps 5 million years ago and will one day exit from it.

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Image: a representation of the local bubble, the sun in the center (not a scale). Leah Hustak / STScl

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