Science

Clouds of Star-Forming Gas Are Being Blasted Across the Galaxy

There is a huge surge of blazing nuclear wind emptying out of our galaxy’s centre, and astronomers have revealed two tiny islands unborn baby stars caught in the riptide. These two chunks of cosmic driftwood are actually extremely cold cloud of hydrogen gas, each one as frigid as Pluto (around minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 240 degrees Celsius) and lifting the mass of more than 200 suns.

In more relaxed waters, they could be stellar nurseries – those super dense clouds of gas where molecules can bundle up into stars. However, the blistering winds of the galactic centre seem to have other ideas from them, a new study suggest.

Blasting away from the galactic centre, the two small clouds of gas seem to be colliding into hotter, more energetic windows from the middle of the galaxy, according to the study. This ongoing collision threatens to dismantle the gas clouds entirely, smothering their start-forming potential.

Scientists have said that “Galaxies can be really good at shooting themselves in the foot,” they continue to say “When you drive out a lot of mass, you are losing some of the material that could be used to form stars, and if you lose enough of it, the galaxy cannot form stars at all anymore.”

Chilly gas clouds are rare in the modern state of our Milky Way, and especially within the vast central domain of the galaxy’s nuclear winds, researchers have said. These two gas clouds sit towards the base of the Fermi Bubbles – two massive orbs of hot gas and cosmic rays that loom 25,000 light-years over each side of the galactic centre. For comparison, the entire Milky Way is only about 100,000 light-years in diameter.

Scientists have linked the Fermi Bubbles to a powerful outburst of energy from the galaxy’s central black hole, which happened millions of years ago. All these millennia later, those gassy blobs are still incredibly hot, measuring more than 10,000 F (5,700 C). Far too hot for star formation.

That being said, many scientists are also wondering whether there can be a collision between a black hole and a warm hole. And if it happens, what will be the outcome? Though astronomers do not have a definite answer yet, there are websites like http://www.hillwilsonstarmap.net/ that talk about a possible outcome of the collision. Those interested can consider checking out the website.

Anyway, coming back to the topic, how the newly uncovered gas clouds ended up inside those inhospitable bubbles is still unknown, the authors of the said study said. Elsewhere in the universe, it is not unusual for star-forming material to get swept through space by jets from an active supermassive black hole, or to be shunted by solar windows blowing out of the densely packed stars near a galaxy’s centre. But the Milky Way’s central black hole has been dormant for a long time, the researchers said, nor does it contain enough stars near its centre to create the sort of cosmic kick needed to send the gas clouds soaring.

These researchers went on to say, “We do not know how either the black hole or the star formation in the Milky Way can produce this phenomenon,” Lead researchers elaborated by saying “We are still looking for the smoking gun, but it gets more complicated, the more we learn about it.”

Hopefully, further investigation of the cosmos will lead to an even greater understanding of these mysterious cool clouds and how they got punted into the cosmic inferno. Understanding this could definitely improve predictive models of how the physics in our solar system works. Because our universe is such a huge place, there are many aspects of it that we are barely grasping the tip of the iceberg in.

Astrophysicists throughout the world are collaborating to deconstruct the forces that are at play here. Some of these bullet-like forces could be a key component of the big bang at the universe’s inception. Or possibly contributes to the constant expansion of our universe. There are so many questions yet to answer and that is why science is so exciting!