The inset diagram at bottom left shows the measurement of gas moving toward and away from Earth, indicating the material is traveling at a high velocity.
Hubble also observed light from quasars that passed outside the northern bubble. The box at upper right reveals that the gas in one such quasar's light path is not moving toward or away from Earth. This gas is in the disk of the Milky Way and does not share the same characteristics as the material probed inside the bubble. Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levy (STScI); Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Bordoloi (MIT). Image release
For the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it's been a long time between dinners. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found that the black hole ate its last big meal about 6 million years ago, when it consumed a large clump of infalling gas. After the meal, the engorged black hole burped out a colossal bubble of gas weighing the equivalent of millions of suns, which now billows above and below our galaxy's center.
"The Hubble data open a whole new window on the Fermi Bubbles," said study co-author Andrew Fox of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. "Before, we knew how big they were and how much radiation they emitted; now we know how fast they are moving and which chemical elements they contain. That's an important step forward."
- The science paper by R. Bordoloi et al.
- NASA's Hubble Portal
- Hubble Discovers that Milky Way Core Drives Wind at 2 Million Miles Per Hour
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Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts