You may not realize it in your daily life, but we are surrounded by a giant "superbubble" (bubble) that was blown into space by the explosions of twelve stars.
Known as the Local Bubble, it stretches for about 1.000 light-years around our solar system and is one of countless similar bubbles in our galaxy produced by supernova collapse.
Cosmic superbubbles have remained fairly mysterious for decades, but recent astronomical advances have revealed key details about their evolution and structure. Only in recent years have researchers been able to map the geometry of the local bubble in three dimensions and demonstrate that its surface is an active site of star birth because it captures gas and dust as it expands into space.
Now, a team of scientists has added more insight into the Local Bubble by mapping the structure's magnetic field, which is thought to play an important role in star formation, such as he says the Motherboard.
Astronomers led by Theo O'Neill, who conducted the new research during a summer research program at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA from the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard & Smithsonian), presented “the first XNUMXD map of a magnetic field above a superbubble” on Wednesday at the 241st annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington. The team also revealed detailed renderings of her new map, bringing the Local Bubble into sharper focus.
“We think that the entire interstellar medium is really full of all these bubbles that are driven by various forms of feedback. They contain really massive stars, which emit energy in one form or another into interstellar space.” said O'Neill, who just received an undergraduate degree in astronomy-physics and statistics from the University of Virginia, in a joint conversation with his mentor Alyssa Goodman, an astronomer at CfA who co-authored the new research.
"Now that we have this map, there are some really cool things we can do, but hopefully others will do it as well," O'Neill said.
"We know that the interstellar medium is full of bubbles like this, and in fact there are many of them near our own local bubble." "A nice next step is to see if the Local Bubble is close to other feedback bubbles." "What happens when these bubbles interact, and how does this push initiate the formation in general and the overall long-term evolution of galactic structures?"
Theo O'Neill, Alyssa Goodman, Juan Soler, et al. Mapping the Local Bubble's Magnetic Field in 3D. Authorea. January 06, 2023