Monday, August 15, 2022

Sounds made by dying stars have been detected in our galaxy’s interstellar gas

It often seems that when people die they leave a void. In the case of massive stars, this is physically true.

A new analysis of weak gas flowing between stars in the Milky Way galaxy has revealed the imprint of bubbles that expand into space when a massive star goes supernova at the end of its life. Scientists say that these ghostly traces record the history of star death and the rotation of the Milky Way.

The space between the stars is not completely empty. The gas flows through those gaps in space, sometimes coming together in more diffuse clouds, mostly of atomic hydrogen. Stars are born in these clouds when they are very dense; And when they die, the stars seed these clouds with the elements they formed in their core.

However, how these clouds form and organize throughout the galaxy and recycle themselves is not fully understood. So a team of astronomers led by Juan Diego Solar of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Italy set out to study the structures found in neutral atomic hydrogen, which pervades our galaxy.

The team used data collected by the HI4PI project, an all-sky survey that studied the sky at radio wavelengths to obtain a map of neutral atomic hydrogen in the Milky Way.

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This is the most detailed survey of its kind to date, mapping not only the distribution of the galaxy’s hydrogen, but also its motion. By combining this with a model of the galaxy’s rotation, the researchers can measure the distance to structures in the gas.

With these data, the team employed an algorithm commonly used to analyze satellite photos, teasing out fine structures in hydrogen that would have been impossible to detect with the eye.

These included an extensive network of fine threads of gas known as filaments, close to the disk that is mostly perpendicular to the plane of the Milky Way galaxy; Those that were not vertical seemed to be randomly oriented. At a distance of more than about 33,000 light-years from the disk of the Milky Way, the filaments were mostly parallel to the galactic plane.

The team interpreted these networks as an imprint of a supernova reaction in the galaxy’s gas.

Astronomer Ralph Claeson said, “These are the remnants of several supernova explosions that bleed gas and created bubbles that pop when specific scales of the galactic plane are reached, like bubbles that reach the surface in a glass of sparkling wine.” of Heidelberg University in Germany.

“The fact that we see mostly horizontal formations in the outer Milky Way, where there is a drastic reduction in the number of massive stars and consequently fewer supernovae, suggests that we are seeing gas-shaping stars in our galaxy.” Entering energy and momentum input.

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This, the team said, could offer a new investigation for understanding the dynamic processes that shaped the Milky Way’s disk, and a tool for conducting galactic archaeology — the fossils of ancient processes for reconstructing the history of our galaxy. can study.

It also offers a new context to explain other phenomena that can be found in the vicinity of filaments.

“The interstellar medium, which is the matter and radiation present in the space between stars, is governed by the formation of stars and supernovae, the latter being violent explosions that occur during the final evolutionary stages of stars that exceed Ten times more massive than the Sun,” said astronomer Patrick Hannebelle of the Saclay Atomic Research Center in France.

“The associations of supernovae are very efficient at maintaining turbulence and lifting gas in a stratified disk. The discovery of these filamentary structures in atomic hydrogen is an important step in understanding the process responsible for galaxy-scale star formation.”

research has been published in astronomy and astrophysics,

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