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Massive Gamma Ray Bubbles Discovered In Milky Way 115

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-was-me-sorry-i-ate-beans dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Two huge, mysterious gamma ray-emitting bubbles have been discovered at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, US astronomers said... The structure spans more than half of the visible sky, from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus, and it may be millions of years old."
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Massive Gamma Ray Bubbles Discovered In Milky Way

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  • Systematic Error (Score:3, Interesting)

    by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @11:32AM (#34186326)

    So they used noisy data to try and algorithmically guess what was hidden behind a bunch of "fog" and got a giant bubble, and now their conclusion is "there's a giant bubble!" and not "Maybe we have a systematic error in our analysis..."? To be fair, it's possible there is a giant bubble, I don't know the math here, but it seems... suspect.

    Anyway, this article [cosmosmagazine.com] sounds way cooler.

    • by clang_jangle (975789) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @11:37AM (#34186390) Journal
      No, I found another source where they managed to enhance the image of one of them and it really is a bubble [annotatedmst.com].
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        "SHERRIF PERRY. You are violating my territorial bubble." -Milton Dammers

      • Stop the bubbles....stop the bubbles. (Something about Lawrence Welk, methinks?)

        Actually, doesn't our solar system begin to line up with line-of-sight to the center of the galaxy? Hmmmm....that would be around 2012.....Uh oh....

      • by nanospook (521118)
        hahaha You totally got me with this one!
    • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @11:43AM (#34186446)
      Obviously the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics needs to hear from you immediately. Clearly you have a super-human insight that surpasses teams of expert astrophysicists. I'll bet their doctorates aren't worth the paper they're printed on. What unmitigated gall, releasing these findings without considering simple limitations of algorithmical analysis. Thank you internet for saving the world once again.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by biryokumaru (822262)
        Um, regardless of origin, a lot of findings can be a little suspect. Particularly if they aren't published findings.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by oldhack (1037484)
        That's right, bow down before the hallowed parchments. Superstitious ignint twit.
        • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @03:21PM (#34189080)
          I do do not suggest that degrees are magical things that make one automatically right. I do imply that it's unlikely that some random person from the internet has outmaneuvered a team of experts with decades of combined experience in five minutes on a post on /. Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely? No. Is it so absurd as to be to some degree insulting? Yeah, that's the point.
      • by niklask (1073774)

        You do realize that even CfA people aren't experts in all fields, right? Doing Fermi-LAT is very tricky in the Galactic plane and only maybe a handful of people in the LAT team know how to do it correctly. That being said, this result isn't necessarily wrong but it needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

      • ...please explain to us who Andreas Albrecht is?

        Those thinking types amongst us will understand he is one of those truly intelligent physicists out there who don't necessarily believe in theories based upon theories based upon theories, etc..

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Nah, scientists never think to consider systematic error. It's up to random Slashdot "readers" to remind them.

    • It's not exactly a bubble, it's more like a void. Peter Hamilton was prescient. [amazon.com]

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      IINM slashdot covered the "death star" story you linked to three years ago. Personally, I think both stories are at least interesting, if not fascinating.

    • by ThePeices (635180)

      My god, please dont expose your ignorance like that in public, its embarrassing. Makes me cringe.

      You have no idea that the method they used is perfectly fine. Finding a signal that is below the "noise floor" is used in many, many systems, for example GPS.

      Finding a "signal" embedded in the "noise" of the gamma ray fog is nothing special, and does not immediately show a systematic error in the method. These people are scientists, they are well aware of these things.

      Give the educated people who know craploads

  • I looked at the photo and it doesn't look like bubbles.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @11:39AM (#34186402)

    Dark Taco Bell.

    This is also responsible for the increasing expansion of the universe.

  • The Pentagon denies that its gamma-ray bubbles were operating near the galactic center 25,000 years ago, and the State Department is being tight-lipped as well.
    • by i_ate_god (899684)

      maybe because it's actually the chinese who are behind it and the US doesn't want to start a panic?

      • That's a decent theory- the Chinese are blowing bubbles with gamma rays in an effort to meet their future energy needs.
    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      And that missile thingy the other day, nearby Los Angeles? That was Astro Boy!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @11:43AM (#34186440)

    I'm sure I'm missing something, but I thought gamma ray bursts could occur as a result of black hole formation, which I thought was quite prevalent in the center of the galaxy. Wouldn't this be (or why isn't this) the top suspect?

    • by cusco (717999)
      In the center of some galaxies, fortunately not ours since IIRC they would scour life off the surface of Earth that happened to be facing that way.
      • by BigSes (1623417)
        IIRC, being that we are towards the outer edge of the galaxy, and that its believed that the Milky Way's supermassive blackhole is "dormant" (as much as a blackhole can be, it is no longer ravenously eating the gas around it and producing the large gamma ray bursts or quasars), our solar system would not be affected by the tremendous gravity. If the blackhole just disappeared completely, many stars on the outer edge of the Milky Way would continue on their original path and speed, unaffected by the sudden
    • I'm sure I'm missing something, but I thought gamma ray bursts could occur as a result of black hole formation, which I thought was quite prevalent in the center of the galaxy. Wouldn't this be (or why isn't this) the top suspect?

      AFAIK the origin of Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) is not known yet (at least from the books I read, situation may have changed in recent years).
      This is about Gamma Ray "Bubbles" (not GRBs), which just means some structure emitting at gamma ray frequencies.

      Without having access to the article, I can only guess: Could those be the lobes/jets of our galaxy?

  • My bubbles. They are MINE.

  • "Two huge, mysterious gamma ray-emitting bubbles"...spans more than half of the visible sky, from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus, and it may be millions of years old.

    Now THAT was some seriously bad Mexican food.

  • To whoever makes the best sexual innuendo related to this article.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:00PM (#34186606) Homepage Journal

    Massive [...] bubbles discovered in Milky Way? Are you kidding me?

    Are you telling me we're living inside a giant Aero chocolate bar [wikipedia.org]?

  • by rcharbon (123915) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:06PM (#34186690) Homepage
    Let me know when you start to see Puppeteers.
    •   We won't see the Puppeteers, they are long gone toward galactic north already.

        On the other hand, by the time we detect the Pak fleets coming from the core, it'll already be too late... they kill technological civilizations in their path.

      SB

  • hope this doesn't alter the taste of the creamy nougat.
  • gas giants (Score:4, Funny)

    by gtall (79522) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:12PM (#34186774)

    Hmmm...massive gas bubbles...and right after the U.S. election. Coincidence?

  • Is this Larry Niven's core explosion? We'd better get to work on that scrith, or we'd better try and hitch a ride with Puppeteers...

  • Dammit, where are Mike and Mary Callahan when you need 'em?

  • is that a brain scan or a gamma scan?
  • God called - - he asked if you could stop peeking while He's taking a bath. Thanks.
  • by p0p0 (1841106) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @12:26PM (#34187086)
    It's a space station.
  • When I saw the picture the first thing it looked like to me were those giant gets you sometimes see shooting away from black holes. I assumed that this was from the black hole in the center of our galaxy. The article says it might be, but might also be from star formation.

    • That's exactly what I see. Gas jets, slightly curved, most likely due to the movement of our galaxy.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      One article I saw said it could possibly be both. They really don't know. Another article said the scientists were "amazed".

  • Look, I know it is a bubble, still I am going to invest in it. I am sure I will be able to sense when it is going to burst and get out in time, leaving rest of those morons from Morgan Stanley and hedge fund managers holding the bag. I know, I know I have lost the house in dotcom bubble and the car and computer in the housing bubble other, but this time it is going to be different. Third time is the charm. Really. Quitters never win and Winners never quit. It is all or nothing baby. I am on a roll.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I am sure I will be able to sense when it is going to burst and get out in time

      If you get too close to the source of those bubbles, the time's going to go REAL fast!

  • Dont these "bubbles" simply look like the jets of energy you see shooting out either end of a black hole? They're slightly curved, probably because our galaxy is moving. What the @#$% do I know. I dont even own a telescope. :/
  • That amount of gamma radiation is going to create an Inconceivable Hulk!

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      That amount of gamma radiation is going to create an Inconceivable Hulk!

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. ;-)

  • pfft. Nothing strange about that. Call me when they discover bubbles around Uranus...
    No, wait. Don't.

  • My firefox RSS thingy had truncated the title to "Massive Gamma Ray Bubbles Discovered In Milk" which I think you'll agree would have been a much more interesting article :)

  • Does the earth ever pass through the bubbles? If so, does our passing through correlate with more mutations and rapid evolution of various species in those times?

    Inquiring minds that are too lazy to correlate the data themselves want to know!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HiThere (15173)

      As I understand it:

      The earth passing through one of those bubbles would be more likely correlated with life having to start over. Perhaps some subducted radiodurans could survive, so we might not need to evolve DNA all over again. But one could expect all multicellular life to be killed, and most bacteria across all lines. That there would be surviving bacteria is not at all certain, but nothing else should be expected to survive.

      OTOH, most of the action is taking place outside the plane of the galaxy, s

      • by Urkki (668283)

        Unless you have a reference, I'd suspect there would be very little effect on life on Earth when passing through those bubbles, for the same reason why gamma ray observatories are impractical on earth surface... There would probably be slightly increased cancer rates, and perhaps some atmospheric effects like auroras, but not much else.

        • by HiThere (15173)

          Well, of course it's a matter of intensity. I'm guessing it's high, you're guessing it's low. If it's high, the earth could lose most of it's water. (Well, this require long-lasting rather than just rather high intensity, but that's to be expected from this kind of phenomenon.)

          As to "no gamma ray telescopes", the "bubbles" have had their contents blown out of them, because everything opaque to gamma rays is pushed away. This would include such things as planetary atmospheres. But outgassing continues to

  • Original Article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Richard.Tao (1150683) on Wednesday November 10, 2010 @01:27PM (#34187886)

    So far I am finding the original article an interesting read. (it's in the original article NYT article)
    It states that the bubble may be related to an ejection of the super massive black hole in the past 10 million years or so. You know those other galaxies that have giant lazer beams shooting out of them? Well, ours could have been like that at some point 10 million years ago. Kind makes sense that those SM black holes only occasionally and intermittently shoot stuff off, seems like just emissions like that would be hard to sustain for long periods of time. (and holy mother of Bohr, it was hard to not fall into sexual innuendo there)
    Also, as far as it being a data anomaly (which I thought first due to it's symmetry and the fact that we apparently never knew about it), it apparently correlates with "hard-spectrum excess known as the WMAP haze (and) the edges of bubble also line up with features in the ROSAT X-ray maps at 1.5 - 2 KeV."

  • New ideas for yo momma's so fat jokes
  • One is god, and the other is Jesus, end of story....move along, nothing to see here....

  • It's simply the whipped creamy filling!

    What else is in a MilkyWay?

  • Ain't that unglamorous.
  • from the article:

    While the Milky Way's black hole lacks such a jet - which is powered by matter falling inside the black hole, scientists believe it may have had one millions of years ago.

    I thought that a black hole was a matter-&-light-gobbling monster that never stopped. What does the quote from the article mean? How does a black hole cease to exist? What happens to it?

    • by osu-neko (2604)

      from the article:

      While the Milky Way's black hole lacks such a jet - which is powered by matter falling inside the black hole, scientists believe it may have had one millions of years ago.

      I thought that a black hole was a matter-&-light-gobbling monster that never stopped. What does the quote from the article mean? How does a black hole cease to exist? What happens to it?

      You misread. What it says we may have had one million years ago that we don't have now is "such a jet". We still have the black hole, but the jets are gone (if they were there, which frankly seems likely to me given the lingering bubbles, but IANAPA [I Am Not A Professional Astronomer]).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BigSes (1623417)
      The large scale and rapid intake of surrounding gas and objects around the blackhole produces those jets. Once the feeding slows, or stops, the jets disappear. They are then considered to be in a dormant stage. I actually recall reading or hearing somewhere that its thought that the heat and friction of the gas/objects spinning into the blackhole becomes so intense that it begins to push away the very materials that feed the blackhole itself (and therfore feed the jets). So, the blackhole still exists,
    • by magnamous (25882)

      Both explanations were very helpful. Thanks!

  • Wasn't this excuse used in Men in Black? "The fog happens when particles moving near the speed of light interact with light and interstellar gas in the Milky Way."

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