You are on page 1of 3

Scientists Solar system inside a searing gas bub

ble
Our whole solar system appears to, say space scientists, who publish
ed work last month corroborating its existence.
And, oh, what a bubble it is: About 300 light years long (about 1,!",0
00,000,000,000 miles#, and its walls are made o$ hot gas. %ow hot& Ab
out a million degrees.
'i$e beyond the planet (A)A: *oyager has le$t the solar system
+t,s called the -'ocal .ubble- or -local hot bubble- and is shaped a littl
e like a peanut.
)cientists belie/e it was $ormed by superno/as, the largest explosions
in space, as (A)A calls them, that occur when a large star blows up.
One superno/a blasts out more energy in less than a second than our
sun gi/es o0 in a million years, (A)A says. A single explosion can outs
hine an entire galaxy.
,'ike popcorn,
1hey usually occur about twice a century in the 2ilky 3ay 4alaxy. .ut
about 10 million years ago, a slew o$ them exploded right near our sol
ar system.
-)uperno/as went o0 like popcorn,- (A)A says.
+n a uni/erse about 13.5 billion years old, that,s a recent e/ent. %uma
ns did not yet walk the 6arth 10 million years ago, but monkeys did.
1hose superno/as may ha/e sent our e/olutionary ancestors running s
cared, but they weren,t enough to annihilate them.
4alactic hole
7ast $orward 10 million years to the 180s and 50s, when humans 9rst
began noticing what they,d later postulate was the bubble.
1hey were aiming more ad/anced telescopes at what,s called the inter
stellar medium.
.etween the planets and the stars o$ our galaxy is not :ust empty spac
e. 1here are gasses, dust, ions ;; and more ;; sweeping around.
3hen astronomers poked around in our solar system $or it, they $ound
little to nothing. +t was like we were li/ing in a /irtually empty hole, o
ne that has only a single atom per e/ery liter o$ space.
Around the same time, sensors launched outside o$ 6arth,s atmospher
e re/ealed an abundance o$ something else coming $rom all directions
;; x;ray radiation.
1he idea that we li/e in a bubble was born:
)o much interstellar medium was gone, because the exploding supern
o/as ha/e blown it away, and and le$t us surrounded with their remna
nts o$ radiating gas.
<oubt, corroboration
.ut some scientists, in recent years, cast doubt on the 'ocal .ubble m
odel, saying the radiation could be the result o$ -charge exchange- ;; p
assing solar winds stealing electrons and thereby emitting x;ray radiat
ion.
)cientists $rom the =ni/ersity o$ 2iami in >oral 4ables picked up the
gauntlet and de/eloped a sensor to measure charge exchange radiatio
n and 9red it out o$ 6arth,s atmosphere atop a small (A)A rocket two
years ago.
+t only took about 9/e minutes $or the detector to take a reading. Anal
y?ing the data, the scientists determined that only "0@ o$ the backgro
und x;ray emanates $rom within our solar system.
1he rest o$ the glow, they say, must come $rom the searing gaseous wa
lls o$ a big bubble we li/e intwitter( https:AAtwitter.comABC>'.OOD
# plurk( http:AAwww.plurk.comAsearchkeywords # linkedincn.linkedi
n.comApubA;A"A10aAb80A6dit #*k (http:AA/k.comAchinateach #re
ddit( http:AAwww.reddit.comAuserAextensionsE1A #weibo (http:AAweibo.
comAsearchkeywords #