Citizen Scientists Discover Cosmic Bubbles in Milky Way Galaxy
Image: A team of volunteers pored over observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and discovered more than 5,000 “bubbles” in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Oxford University
More than 5,000 space bubbles have been discovered in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy by a team of part-time citizen scientists.
These bubbles are blown by young, hot stars into the surrounding gas and dust, and indicate areas of brand-new star formation, scientists say.
“These findings make us suspect that the Milky Way is a much more active star-forming galaxy than previously thought,” Eli Bressert, an astrophysics doctoral student at the European Southern Observatory, said in a statement. “The Milky Way’s disk is like champagne with bubbles all over the place.”
About 35,000 volunteers sifted through data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope on the online Milky Way Project to make the discoveries. These citizen scientists have found about 10 times more bubbles than previous surveys.