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Thread: Milky Way is Surrounded by Halo of Hot Gas

NASA's Chandra Shows Milky Way is Surrounded by Halo of Hot Gas

milkywayhalo

Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to find evidence our Milky Way Galaxy is embedded in an enormous halo of hot gas that extends for hundreds of thousands of light years. The estimated mass of the halo is comparable to the mass of all the stars in the galaxy.

If the size and mass of this gas halo is confirmed, it also could be an explanation for what is known as the "missing baryon" problem for the galaxy...

... Chandra observed eight bright X-ray sources located far beyond the galaxy at distances of hundreds of millions of light-years. The data revealed X-rays from these distant sources are absorbed selectively by oxygen ions in the vicinity of the galaxy.

The scientists determined the temperature of the absorbing halo is between 1 million and 2.5 million kelvins, or a few hundred times hotter than the surface of the sun...

...This new research provides evidence the hot gas halo enveloping the Milky Way is much more massive than the warm gas halo...

..."It may extend for a few hundred thousand light-years around the Milky Way or it may extend farther into the surrounding local group of galaxies. Either way, its mass appears to be very large."...

...Baryons are particles, such as protons and neutrons, which make up more than 99.9 percent of the mass of atoms found in the cosmos. Measurements of extremely distant gas halos and galaxies indicate the baryonic matter present when the universe was only a few billion years old represented about one-sixth the mass and density of the existing unobservable, or dark, matter.

[link to www.spacedaily.com]


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