A 500-Light-Year-Wide Cavity in the Milky Way

The scientists studied a series of events beginning about 14 million years ago, when a bubble formed in our galactic neighborhood and engulfed the stars nearby. This bubble is known as the Local Bubble, and all the stars and star-forming regions in our galaxy reside within it.

large cavity in the milky wayThe cavity spans about 150 parsecs, or 500 light years, and lies between the constellations Taurus and Perseus. It was formed by ancient supernovae, which exploded in the galaxy about 10 million years ago. The cavity is surrounded by a region of space called the molecular cloud, where stars form.

The researchers used data from the Gaia space observatory to make a 3D model of the cavity and its surrounding molecular cloud. It is the first time molecular clouds have been visualized in three dimensions. The researchers then compared their maps to existing ideas about star formation. Using augmented reality, they also developed a QR code to help the public interact with the cavity and surrounding molecular clouds.

The new results confirm previous theories regarding the formation of stars and the Local Bubble. They also suggest that the Local Bubble may contain young stars and star-forming regions near Earth. In addition, the scientists say that the Local Bubble has been expanding due to the gas pushed outward from supernovae.

big cavity in milky wayThe researchers say that the Local Bubble may be more than 500 light-years across. It is thought to be older than 14 million years. The first supernovae responsible for the Local Bubble were far from our sun. About five million years ago, the sun crossed into the Local Bubble.

Scientists at the European Space Agency used their spacecraft Gaia to map molecular clouds. The spacecraft can map molecular clouds both in 2D and 3D. The cavity was found between the molecular clouds of Taurus and Perseus.