The image: Through the lens of a NASA telescope, astronomer Doug Finkbeiner and colleagues recently made a stunning disovery: Two enormous bubbles "emerging like party balloons" above and below the Milky Way. The galaxy-sized bubbles, each of which extends 25,000 light-years beyond the Milky Way's boundaries, are expanding at the rapid clip of 2.2 million miles per hour and emitting massive amounts of gamma rays as they go. Where, exactly, did the "space bubbles" come from?
The reaction: The bubbles may be the result of "a wave of starbirth at the galaxy’s center millions of years ago," says Ron Cowen at Science News. The stars' "explosive deaths" could have emitted enough energy to create such huge growths. A more plausible theory involves the "supermassive black hole" that scientists know "resides at the center of our galaxy." That region of space "must go through stages when it gobbles up massive amounts of material," says John Roach at National Geographic, and such activity could be the cause of the gamma ray-spewing structures. Check out images of the the Milky Way's majestic bubbles:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- Let us now praise Billy Joel
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
- How Scott Brown is executing the perfect GOP Senate campaign
- How foreign aid screwed up Liberia's ability to fight Ebola
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week