Two clouds of gas, both dignified, are displayed side by side in a fair Milky Way.. These giant star-forming gas regions, known as “molecular clusters,” extend across the sky and appear to form a bridge between Taurus and Perseus.
It’s a heavenly story of love beyond the stars — and according to new research, it’s also a giant optical illusion.
A new 3D map of the region, created with the support of the European Space Agency Gaia Space Observatory, show that these canoodling clouds are actually hundreds Light year Away — gas, dust, and stars are separated by a giant sky sphere where you can’t find a purchase.
This newly detected rift, called the Perseus-Taurus Supershell, extends to a width of about 500 light-years, according to a study published on 22 September. Astrophysical Journal Letter — Or about 115 times the distance between Earth And the closest alien sun, Proxima Centauri. Hundreds of young stars have already formed around the edges of the bubbles, but the large spherical sky within them indicates one obvious cause, the author writes: a catastrophic supernova explosion.
“A supernova spawns in the center of this bubble, pushing gas out to form what is now called the” Perseus-Torus Supershell, “or a series of supernovae spawning over millions of years over time. Created it with “Bearley, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Said in a statement..
Astronomers have known the Taurus and Perseus molecular clouds for decades, but all previous studies have been based on two-dimensional observations. Now, using data from Gaia, the authors of the study have developed a new method for 3D mapping dust in remote corners of the galaxy. (The author further explains their method in a second study published on September 22nd. Astrophysical Journal.. )
When mapping these seemingly linked gas clouds, researchers found that there was no physical connection between them. Rather, they were on the other side of the invisible empty cavity. The team found that the long filaments of gas that seem to connect them are “accidental projections” that appear to be on the closer torus side of the bubble and only on the farther Perseus side. I am writing.
Given the location of the molecular clouds and the ages of the stars in them, researchers estimated that both clouds were formed as a result of the same supernova explosion about 10 to 20 million years ago.Such an explosion occurs when a large star runs out of fuel, sheds an outer layer of hot gas, and then collapses under itself. gravity.. This sudden collapse creates a powerful shock wave that pushes the remaining gas and dust far away from the distraught debris of the original star.
In this case, the researchers said that two large masses of gas appeared to have gathered on the opposite side of the shock wave, where each condensed and began to form a new star.
“This shows that when a star dies, the supernova can generate a series of events that ultimately lead to the birth of a new star,” Bialy said.
So the story of this cluster of intersecting stars has a hopeful ending after all. But happier takeaways are the new mapping technology itself, according to researchers. This study is the first time a molecular cloud has been imaged in 3D, opening the door to many potential discoveries on how gas rearranges itself to form stars throughout the galaxy. increase.
Originally published in Live Science.
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