November 25, 2011 16:24
Surrounded by gas and dust, star clusters produce energy flows.
The mystery of energy beams that come from space, almost a century on the minds of astrophysicists. Their origin is a mystery, until now nobody has been able to trace where they come from. But this week, an international research team made a startling statement. Cosmic rays are formed in the superbubble of gas and dust, which are located in the distant constellation Cygnus.
The fact is that to figure out where is the source of energy of the radiation, is incredibly difficult. Since the rays are composed of charged particles, they can get into the magnetic field of the stars on your way through space. Therefore, their trajectory is changing, and not just once in a long journey.
Until now, scientists could only make hypotheses about the origin of the rays. It was assumed that they are formed in the formation of new stars. Massive stars can produce streams of charged particles. According to another version, the high-energy rays are produced in supernova explosions.
The study, published today in the journal Science, offers an entirely different explanation for this mysterious phenomenon that struck astrophysicists. Cosmic rays are formed in the superbubble created by a cluster of young massive stars, surrounded by a cloud of gas and dust.
NASA Fermi Space Telescope spotted a powerful stream of light coming from just such a bubble in X constellation Cygnus. At this point in space is the accumulation of massive stars, called Cygnus OB2. It is located at a distance of 4.5 thousand light-years away and has more than 500 stars, each of which is ten times the mass of the Sun.
"We first were able to detect cosmic rays, and even at the stage of their occurrence, in clusters of massive stars," — shared his enthusiasm Luigi Tibaldi, an experimental physicist at the University of Padua.
"Rays were observed by us as if enclosed within the superbubble and tried to escape. This has completely changed the way we look at the effect of the energy of the radiation to the surrounding objects. If the rays fall in the region of star formation, the chemical composition of the star can be changed ", — explained Isabelle Grenier, an astrophysicist at the University of Paris Diderot.
It should be noted that this superbubble has nothing to do with the unusual, who are in the field of view of the telescope Hubble in December last year. Then, at a distance of about 160 thousand light years from Earth have found an unusual area shaped like a giant Christmas ball.
Thinnest spherical shell that pictured telescope was red-pink color — it's a gas cloud that formed due to the blast thrown when a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a relatively small galaxy. The structure of the shell "Christmas tree ball" uniform, this is due to different densities in the layers of interstellar gas.
Outer diameter of the bubble is about 23 light-years, while it has been growing at a rate of about 18 million km / h.
With the Hubble telescope for observing the Universe for the site are conducted in the fall of 2006. Originally a giant bubble studied through a filter to see the glow of hydrogen. However, the existing images imposed picture of the visible spectrum. To download, which clearly stood out a giant red ball.