14 million years ago, a series of supernovae exploded, pushing gas outward & creating a bubble that had ideal conditions for the formation of new young stars that we see around us. These are the findings of researchers at Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CIA), said institutional press release.
The origin of the universe & its many stars continues to amaze us. While there are many theories about how our universe was formed, science needs proof and that’s why we send space telescopes to scan far into space and way-back in time to figure out how we got here. The most recent addition is the James Webb Space Telescope, which is only months away from sending its very first image.
By bringing together the data we have so-far, researchers from CfA & the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have put together space time animation that explains how 15 supernovae set-into-motion the formation of gas bubble called Local Bubble. whose surface can give birth to new stars. So far, there are seven known molecular clouds or regions of star formation on the local bubble which continues to grow in size.
Catherine Zucker, a data visualization expert who contributed to work during her fellowship at CfA, said that although the bubble’s growth has stabilized over millions of years, it continues to grow at around 4 miles per sec.
It is interesting to note that our sun, which was far from the local bubble when it was formed, moved directly into the center of the bubble more than 5 million years ago by virtue of its journey in the galaxy, giving us a beautiful view of Earth as young stars form on the surface of the bubble all around us.
Bubbles created by supernovae giving birth to new stars was a theory put forward more than 50 years ago, according to the press release, and “we now have proof that they exist,” said Alyssa Goodman, co- author of the study that was published in Nature today.
The research team now wants to map more such bubbles in our galaxy to improve our understanding of their sizes, shapes & positions as well as how they interact & drive birth of new stars in our Milky Way, said the press release.