Quirks & Quarks

The Earth is at the centre of a cosmic bubble created by supernovae

The 1000 light-year across 'Local Bubble' was swept clean of gas, dust, and other star-forming materials by as many as 15 supernovas over the past 14 million years

New study of the 'Local Bubble' traces the history of the strangely empty region of space

Labelled illustration of the Local Bubble (Leah Hustak, Space Telescope Science Institute)

Astronomers have known for several decades that the Earth and our sun sit in the middle of a cosmic bubble, 1000 light-years wide, known as the Local Bubble. A new study has traced its history and evolution, explaining why this area of space is strrangely empty, and why at its edge a burst of star formation has been happening. 

This new picture was developed by a team that included Catherine Zucker from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

The team's new study, published this week, traces how the the Local Bubble was formed by as many as 15 supernovas exploding in our galactic neighborhood over the past 14 million years. As the supernovas occurred, their shock waves  swept gas and dust up and pushed it out of our stellar neighborhood. At the border of the Local Bubble, this material has piled up and is forming new stars .

Click on the link at at the top of this page to hear Bob McDonald's interview with astronomer Catherine Zucker.

Produced and written by Mark Crawley

 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now