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Supernova and the Bubble round the Earth

28 August 2014

At http://phys.org/print328339018.html … it did occur to me this might be a spoof – but assuming it is genuine, we are told that 10 million years ago a cluster of supernovae went off like popcorn popping in a saucepan. The explosion blew an enormous bubble into interstellar space – and we are inside that bubble. It seems the bubble was discovered early in the 1980s by optical and radio astronomers on the lookout for interstellar gas. According to NASA, astronomers at the time were also in the process of discovering an x-ray glow coming from all directions.

This is probably new to most people but the solar system is inside a bubble of hot gas. Now, we are told, some astronomers, in recent years, have come up with a different explanation for the x-ray glow coming in all directions. It is the result of charge exchange – yes, electricity in space. A group of scientists decided to test both theories – and came out somewhere in the middle (sitting on a fence?). Apparently, they have deduced that 40 per cent of x-rays originate 'within' the solar system (as a result of charge within the solar system). However, the other 60 per cent of x-rays come from outside the solar system. This means the idea we live in a bubble is still alive and kicking.

Published in Nature July 27th 2014.

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