Dunlap Astronomer discovers we may be surrounded by tunnel-like structure

Asia's Tech News Daily

Dunlap Astronomer discovers we may be surrounded by tunnel-like structure

A Dunlap Institute astronomer has discovered that our solar system may be surrounded by what she describes as a magnetic tunnel that can be seen in radio waves.

Dr. Jennifer West, Research Associate at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, is making a scientific case that two bright structures that are seen on opposite sides of the sky – previously considered to be separate – are actually connected and are made of rope-like filaments. This connection forms what looks like a tunnel around our solar system.

“If we were to look up in the sky,” explains West, “we would see this tunnel-like structure in just about every direction we looked – that is, if we had eyes that could see radio light.”

Called “the North Polar Spur” and “the Fan Region,” we’ve known about these two structures for a long time. “Since the 60s,” West says. But most scientific explanations have focused on them individually. West and her colleagues believe they are the first astronomers to connect them as a unit.

Made up of charged particles and a magnetic field, the structures are shaped like long ropes, and are located about 350 light years away from us. They are about 1000 light years long. “That’s the equivalent distance of travelling between Toronto and Vancouver two trillion times,” West explains.

West has been thinking about these features on and off for 15 years – ever since she first saw a map of the radio sky. More recently, she built a computer model that calculated what the radio sky would look like from Earth, as she varied the shape and location of the long ropes. This model allowed West to “build” the structure around us, and showed her what the sky would look like through our telescopes. It was this new perspective that helped her to match the model to the data.

“A few years ago, one of our co-authors, Tom Landecker, told me about a paper from 1965, from the early days of radio astronomy,” West says. “Based on the crude data available at this time, the authors (Mathewson and Milne), speculated that these polarized radio signals could arise from our view of the Local Arm of the Galaxy, from inside it.”

“That paper inspired me to develop this idea and tie my model to the vastly better data that our telescopes give us today.”

To further explain this, West uses the Earth’s map as an example. The North pole is on the top and the Equator is through the middle – but of course, we can always re-draw that map with a different perspective. The same is true for the map of our Galaxy. “Most astronomers look at a map with the North pole of the Galaxy up and the Galactic centre in the middle,” she explains. “An important part that inspired this idea was to remake that map with a different point in the middle.”

The data results of West’s research have been published in the Astrophysical Journal (here).

“This is extremely clever work,” says Dr. Bryan Gaensler, a professor at the Dunlap Institute and an author on the publication. “When Jennifer first pitched this to me, I thought it was too ‘out-there’ to be a possible explanation. But she was ultimately able to convince me! Now I’m excited to see how the rest of the astronomy community reacts.”

An expert in magnetism in galaxies and the interstellar medium, West looks forward to the next possible discoveries within this research.

“Magnetic fields don’t exist in isolation,” she explains. “They all must to connect to each other. So a next step is to better understand how this local magnetic field connects both to the larger-scale Galactic magnetic field, and also to the smaller scale magnetic fields of our Sun and Earth.”

In the meantime, West agrees that the new “tunnel” model not only brings new insight to the science community, but also a ground-breaking concept for the rest of us, on the ground.

“I think it’s just awesome to imagine that these structures are everywhere, whenever we look up into the night sky.”

Research Report: “A Unified Model for the Fan Region and the North Polar Spur: A bundle of filaments in the Local Galaxy”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

China launches new satellite for Earth observation

China launched a new Earth-observation satellite from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Tuesday. The satellite, Gaofen-3 02, was launched by a Long March-4C rocket at 7:45 ... Read more »

The Riemann conjecture unveiled by physics

A mystery of mathematics that has remained unsolved for more than 150 years can be unraveled thanks to a completely unexpected approach coming from statistical physics. This is the important ... Read more »

Hubble Finds Flame Nebula's Searing Stars May Halt Planet Formation

The Flame Nebula or NGC 2024 is a large star-forming region in the constellation Orion that lies about 1,400 light-years from Earth. Hubble studied this nebula to look for protoplanetary ... Read more »

NASA set to launch spacecraft to kick an asteroid off course

NASA is preparing to launch a mission to deliberately smash a spacecraft into an asteroid — a test run should humanity ever need to stop a giant space rock from ... Read more »

NASA announces discovery of 301 new exoplanets

NASA scientists have discovered another 301 exoplanets — those outside the solar system. The new discoveries bring the total of validated exoplanets to 4,569 since the discovery of the first ... Read more »

Astra launch reaches orbit, cheers investors

The stock price for small-rocket company Astra Space, of California, rose more than 30% at one point Monday after the firm reached orbit for the first time over the weekend, ... Read more »

SwRI New Horizons scientist measures brightness of our galaxy at key ultraviolet wavelength

A new study led by Southwest Research Institute determined the brightness of the galactic Lyman-alpha background using a SwRI-developed instrument aboard NASA’s Kuiper Belt space probe, New Horizons. The space ... Read more »

One in five galaxies in the early universe could still be hidden behind cosmic dust

Astronomers at the University of Copenhagen’s Cosmic Dawn Center have discovered two previously invisible galaxies 29 billion light-years away. Their discovery suggests that up to one in five such distant ... Read more »

First Airbus built Inmarsat-6 satellite shipped to Japan ready for launch

The first Airbus built Inmarsat-6 , I-6 F1, satellite has been shipped from Airbus in Toulouse to Tanegashima in Japan ready for launch. The first satellite of the Inmarsat-6 series ... Read more »

New deep learning method adds 301 planets to Kepler's total count

Scientists recently added a whopping 301 newly validated exoplanets to the total exoplanet tally. The throng of planets is the latest to join the 4,569 already validated planets orbiting a ... Read more »

Roasted and Shredded by a Stellar Sidekick

An exhausted star still has some punches to deliver. Astronomers have found that a white dwarf is pummeling a companion object – either a lightweight star or a planet – ... Read more »

Alaska scientist reveals cause of lost magnetism at meteorite site

A University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist has discovered a method for detecting and better defining meteorite impact sites that have long lost their tell-tale craters. The discovery could further the ... Read more »

NASA provides update on Webb Telescope launch

The launch readiness date for the James Webb Space Telescope is moving to no earlier than Dec. 22 to allow for additional testing of the observatory, following a recent incident ... Read more »

NASA awards contract for bed rest studies

NASA has selected Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) of Cologne, Germany, to provide use of its facility to support long-duration bed rest research. The $49.9 million Bedrest Studies Contract ... Read more »

Magellanic Stream arcing over Milky Way may be five times closer than previously thought

Our galaxy is not alone. Swirling around the Milky Way are several smaller, dwarf galaxies – the biggest of which are the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds, visible in the ... Read more »

Research in Brief: First-ever interior Earth mineral discovered in nature

UNLV geochemists have discovered a new mineral on the surface of the Earth. There’s just one catch: it shouldn’t be here. The mineral – entrapped in a diamond – traveled ... Read more »

Crew operations aboard Space Station return to normal

NASA and U.S. Space Command continue to monitor the debris cloud created by a recent Russian anti-satellite test. The International Space Station and crew members are safe and have resumed ... Read more »

Aerospike engine from Pangea Aerospace trialled on DLR test stand

Unique test stands, comprehensive expertise and decades of experience – the Lampoldshausen site of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) specialises in developing and testing ... Read more »

Solar Orbiter returns to Earth before starting its main science mission

Solar Orbiter is returning to Earth for a flyby before starting its main science mission to explore the Sun and its connection to ‘space weather’. During the flyby Solar Orbiter ... Read more »

Maritime Launch Services announces Nanoracks as payload provider; Unveils Spaceport Nova Scotia design

Maritime Launch Services, one of Canada’s leading aerospace firms and the owner of the country’s first commercial spaceport, announced that Nanoracks, a Voyager Space company and the leading commercial payload ... Read more »

Satellite operator Telesat goes public

Telesat Corporation announced today that it is now a public company and will begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ... Read more »

China launches new satellite

China launched a new satellite from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi on Saturday. The satellite, Gaofen-11 03, was launched by a Long March-4B rocket ... Read more »

Stanford researchers are using AI to create better VR experiences

Virtual and augmented reality headsets are designed to place wearers directly into other environments, worlds and experiences. While the technology is already popular among consumers for its immersive quality, there ... Read more »

Bezos' Blue Origin hires lobbyist after 'Space Tax' proposed

This year, the company spent over $1.3 million on lobbying, in addition to $2 million in 2020. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin hired Mac Campbell from Capitol Counsel – a lobbyist ... Read more »

Decisions from the ESA Intermediate Ministerial Meeting 2021

Government ministers in charge of space activities in ESA’s Member States today met at an Intermediate Ministerial Meeting held in Matosinhos, Portugal. The Council of Ministers unanimously adopted a Resolution ... Read more »

Turning space junk into rocket fuel

While SpaceX is working hard to make reusable rockets a new reality, the launches still leave behind massive amounts of debris in orbit, posing a potential hazard to communication satellites ... Read more »

BlackSky set to expand its EO constellation for real-time global intelligence

BlackSky’s latest satellites reached orbit and delivered first insights within 14 hours of launch. The company’s constellation growth signals a return to space and an increased capacity for global customers. ... Read more »

Japanese space tourists arrive at launch site ahead of ISS trip

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa arrived at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday for training ahead of his flight to the International Space Station on a Russian-operated spacecraft. Maezawa’s mission ... Read more »

Bacteria may be key to sustainably extracting earth elements for tech

Rare earth elements from ore are vital for modern life but refining them after mining is costly, harms the environment and mostly occurs abroad. A new study describes a proof ... Read more »

ESA selects revolutionary Venus EnVision mission

EnVision will be ESA’s next Venus orbiter, providing a holistic view of the planet from its inner core to upper atmosphere to determine how and why Venus and Earth evolved ... Read more »

Meet VMS - the briefcase-sized chemistry lab headed to Venus

Short for Venus Mass Spectrometer, VMS is one of five instruments aboard the DAVINCI descent probe. Launching in 2029, DAVINCI will be the first US probe mission to enter Venus’ ... Read more »

Scientists eagerly await James Webb telescope to discover stars, exoplanets

Scientists around the world eagerly await discoveries of early galaxies and exoplanets after the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful telescope ever conceived, is launched Dec. 18, a panel ... Read more »

US still characterizing damage of satellite struck in Russian missile test

The United States is still characterising the damage from an anti-satellite missile test allegedly conducted by Russia earlier this week, US Space Command Deputy Commander John Shaw said on Wednesday. ... Read more »

SES orders 2 new sats for Prime TV Neighbourhood serving 118 million homes

SES has ordered two geostationary (GEO) Ku-band satellites for its prime orbital slot at 19.2 degrees East to maintain the premium services it provides to its European video customers and ... Read more »

When debris disaster strikes

In 2021 so far, some 2467 new objects large enough to be tracked have been added to world catalogues of orbital objects, out of which 1493 are new satellites and ... Read more »

Astronomical object found by amateur identified as new dwarf galaxy

Enthusiast Giuseppe Donatiello spotted the galaxy while scrutinising publicly available data and his finding was investigated by professional astrophysicists, led by Dr. David Martinez-Delgado from the Instituto de Astrofisica de ... Read more »

Hubble Takes a Grand Tour of the Solar System

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has completed its annual grand tour of the outer Solar System. This is the realm of the giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune ... Read more »

Teledyne e2v HiRel offers new radiation dosimeters for space applications

Teledyne e2v HiRel has announced availability of 3 new radiation dosimeter models that further broaden its popular range of radiation measurement devices. Aimed at high altitude aerospace applications and all ... Read more »

Planetary defenders: after NASA's DART comes ESA's Hera

The world will be watching the milestone launch of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART, spacecraft on Wednesday, 24 November, intended to alter one small part of the Solar System ... Read more »

RocketStar gets SBIR contract to develop new plasma thrusters

RocketStar, an industry leader transforming access to space with fully reusable rockets, has announced that the company has been selected by the U.S Air Force to participate in a Small ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic