Astronomer’s just discovered two massive bubbles in a far away galaxy, NGC 3079. But they’re not like the bubbles we see here on Earth when you blow air into a straw in your glass of water, but rather these bubble’s are made of highly charged particles and gases that have been trapped within itself from some cosmic cataclysmic event.
NGC3079 is located 67 million lightyears from Earth and has been the place of research for a lot of astronomers. These bubbles have been measured to be around the same size of on another, one being 4900 lightyears in diameter and the other 3600 lightyears. To compare, our Sun’s effects reach out only about 2 lightyears in distance, that makes these super bubbles to be about 2000 lightyears longer than our solar system.
Using the Chandra X-ray observatory, astronomer’s found that right around the rim of these cosmic super bubbles, there is a particle accelerator, meaning there are particles being accelerated at great speeds, to be exact, 100 times more energetically and faster than what the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) here on Earth is capable of producing.
Something even more interesting is that these super bubbles are not a rarity in our universe in fact, our very own galaxy has super bubbles too, and they’re called Fermi Bubbles. That’s right the Milky Way galaxy has bubbles too, which were first detected in 2010.
Astronomers believe these super bubbles formed two different ways. The first, is through the fall of matter into a supermassive black hole, found at the center of our galaxy. When this happens, a release of highly charged particles and radiation are emitted back into space. This may cause strong amounts of wind and energy to disrupt other matter in the galaxy and the bubbles may form. The second way is through very strong stellar wind from hot young stars. These winds are not only fast and powerful but also contain excited electrons and charged particles that can interfere with nearby matter, hence possibly causing the formation of these comic bubbles.
Knowing that these bubbles are accelerating particles to immense speeds, scientists believe they may be tied together with something known as Ultra-High Energy Cosmic Rays (UHECRs). Which have been recorded all throughout our universe, and infant are not rays at all but instead are highly charged particles.
Might these cosmic particle accelerators give us the answers that scientists have been looking for through the experimentations being done in Geneva, Switzerland (where LHC is located)? Could these super bubbles be what produces the UHECRs that we see happening all throughout universe? And can we make find a way to predict when these energetic events will occur and harvest its energy for interstellar travel?