Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Where is the gas in interstellar space?

17.04.2007
A team of astronomers led by Professor Martin Barstow of the University of Leicester have searched for the hot gas thought to be present in the interstellar space around the Sun but found it just isn’t there.

Speaking at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in Preston on Tuesday 17 April, Professor Barstow will present a map of the local interstellar medium, the gas lying between the stars out to distances of about 300 light years from the Sun, made using the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) satellite.

Professor Barstow and his team used FUSE to observe a group of white dwarf stars (compact remnants of stars like our Sun will be at the end of its life). The scientists intended to probe the structure of interstellar space in the vicinity of the Sun by searching for the imprint of oxygen in the ultraviolet light from the stars. However, all the oxygen detected was found to be in the atmospheres of the stars and no interstellar oxygen was found. This implies that, rather than being full of tenuous ionized gas, as expected, this region of interstellar space (the Local Cavity) is actually empty and was probably swept clear by an ancient supernova explosion a few million years ago.

Our present picture of the local interstellar medium is that the Sun and Solar system are embedded in and near the edge of a wispy diffuse cloud, known as the Local Cloud (or Local Fluff). This cloud, which is only 20-30 light years across, is itself in a larger much less dense region called the Local Bubble or Local Cavity.

The gas in the Local Cavity was expected to bear the scars of recent nearby events, such as supernova explosions, and radiation from hot young stars. These would make the cavity gas hot and ionized, with the electrons stripped from the constituent atoms, and should be detected by FUSE. The hot gas should emit also X-rays that are detected as a diffuse background in X-ray telescopes. However, if there is no hot gas present, then we need to find another explanation for this X-ray background. One novel suggestion is that it arises from the exchange of charged particles at the boundary between the Sun’s magnetic field and interstellar space.

Robert Massey | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ras.org.uk
http://www.nam2007.uclan.ac.uk/press.php

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich

nachricht Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>