Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Superbubble of supernova remnants caught in act of forming

A superbubble in space, caught in the act of forming, can help scientists better understand the life and death of massive stars, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Found within the Small Magellanic Cloud – a galactic neighbor of the Milky Way – the large region of ionized hydrogen gas is designated "LHa115-N19," and "contains a number of massive stars and overlapping supernova remnants," said Rosa Williams, an astronomer at the U. of I. "We can tell there has been a fair amount of stellar activity going on."

From birth to death, massive stars have a tremendous impact on their surroundings. While alive, these stars generate stellar winds that push away nearby gas and dust, forming low-density cavities inside expanding bubbles. When the stars die, shock waves from their death throes can enlarge those bubbles into huge supernova remnants.

"In N19, we have not one star, but a number of massive stars blowing bubbles and we have several supernova remnants," Williams said. "Some of these cavities may overlap with one another. Eventually, these bubbles could merge into one enormous cavity, called a superbubble."

To identify the locations of massive stars, stellar-wind bubbles and supernova remnants in N19, Williams and colleagues combined optical images, X-ray data and spectroscopic measurements.

"We caught this particular region of N19 at a neat moment in time," Williams said. "The stars are just dispersed enough that their stellar winds and supernova blasts are working together, but have not yet carved out a full cavity. We are witnessing the birth of a superbubble."

The behavior of matter and energy within a superbubble has implications for the formation of planetary systems, said Williams, who will present her team's findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, on Tuesday (Jan. 9).

During its life and death, a massive star forges the heavy elements that enrich the interstellar medium and form planets. "Our own solar system may have formed within the confines of a superbubble," said Williams, who uses an analogy with people to help explain her interest in superbubbles.

"Some people live pretty independently in isolated country houses, while others live in large cities that require a centralized structure," Williams said. "In N19, we are looking at a possible bridge between an individual star living its life and dying its death, and a community of stars, where living and dying affects other stars and planets, and creates a structure around them."

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA
27.10.2016 | University of Oklahoma

nachricht First results of NSTX-U research operations
26.10.2016 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>