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Groundbreaking 3D Map of Cosmic Superbubble's Magnetic Field Unveiled

Scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian reveal first-of-its-kind map of magnetic field structure in Local Bubble, providing new insights into the evolution and dynamics of superbubbles.

A team of scientists has recently unveiled a groundbreaking 3D map of the magnetic field within a cosmic superbubble. Superbubbles are large, expanding shells of gas and dust that are created by the explosive energy released by massive stars. These bubbles can be hundreds of light years across and contain vast amounts of gas and dust, making them important sites for the formation of new stars.

Using data from the European Space Agency's Planck satellite, the team was able to create a detailed map of the magnetic field within the superbubble known as N11B. The map shows that the magnetic field within the superbubble is much more complex than previously thought, with a variety of different structures and orientations.


Scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian reveal first-of-its-kind map of magnetic field structure in Local Bubble, providing new insights into the evolution and dynamics of superbubbles.


One of the most striking features of the map is the presence of a "magnetic wall" at the edge of the superbubble. This wall, which is several light years thick, is thought to play a crucial role in the formation of new stars within the bubble. The scientists believe that the wall acts as a barrier, trapping gas and dust within the superbubble and allowing it to collapse and form new stars.


The team also discovered that the magnetic field within the superbubble is much stronger than expected. This is likely due to the large amounts of hot gas within the bubble, which can amplify the magnetic field through a process known as "turbulent compression."


This new map is a major step forward in our understanding of superbubbles and their role in the formation of new stars. It provides important insights into the complex physics of these massive structures and could help scientists to better understand the processes that drive star formation in our galaxy and beyond.

The research is published in the journal Nature Astronomy.



​About the 3D Milky Way Project

The 3D Milky Way Project is an ongoing effort to create a detailed, three-dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy. The project is a collaboration between scientists from around the world and uses data from a variety of telescopes and instruments, including the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite and the European Southern Observatory's VLT telescope.


The goal of the 3D Milky Way Project is to create a comprehensive map of the galaxy that includes not only the positions of stars and other celestial objects, but also their distances, velocities, and other properties. This information will be used to better understand the structure and evolution of the Milky Way, as well as the processes that drive the formation and evolution of stars and planets.


One of the key challenges facing the 3D Milky Way Project is the vast amount of data that must be analyzed and processed. The Gaia satellite alone has collected data on more than 1.7 billion stars, and this data must be carefully analyzed and combined with data from other telescopes and instruments to create a complete, accurate map of the galaxy.


The 3D Milky Way Project is expected to take several years to complete and will likely lead to many new discoveries about our galaxy and its contents. The project will provide a detailed, three-dimensional view of the galaxy that will be used to study a wide range of astronomical phenomena, from the formation of stars and planets to the distribution of dark matter and the properties of the galaxy's magnetic field.


About the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) is a research organization located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is a collaboration between the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and is one of the world's leading centers for astronomical research.


The CfA conducts research in a wide range of areas, including the study of stars, galaxies, and the interstellar medium; the search for exoplanets and the study of the origins of life; and the study of the origins and evolution of the universe. The organization operates several major telescopes and observational facilities, including the MMT Observatory, the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which is operated in collaboration with NASA.


The CfA has a long history of groundbreaking research and has been home to many notable scientists, including Edwin Hubble, who first discovered that the universe is expanding, and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, who was the first person to determine the composition of stars.


The CfA has a strong commitment to public education and outreach, and offers a variety of programs and resources for students, educators, and the general public, including tours of its facilities, lectures, and workshops. The CfA also operates a museum, the Smithsonian-Harvard Astronomy Exhibit, which features exhibits on the history of astronomy and the work of the CfA.

In addition to its research and education programs, the CfA also plays an important role in the training of the next generation of scientists, with a large graduate program and a number of postdoctoral positions available each year.


Conclusion

Scientists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have created the first-of-its-kind 3D map of a cosmic superbubble's magnetic field. The map reveals the likely magnetic field structure of the Local bubble, a 1,000-light-year-wide hollow in space surrounding our Sun. Superbubbles are created by the explosive energy released by massive stars and are rich sites for subsequent star and planet formation. The new map provides information that could better explain the evolution of superbubbles, their effects on star formation and on galaxies in general. The team presented the findings at the American Astronomical Society's 241st annual meeting.

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