Bubbles filled with thousands of stars found in the Milky Way

Milky Way's Aquila constellation with a cloud of gas and dust full of bubbles inflated by wind and radiation from massive young starsNASA
  • NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captured bubbles filled with thousands of stars in the Aquila constellation of the Milky Way galaxy.
  • There are at least 30 bubbles in the region anywhere from 10 light years to 30 light years in size.
  • Scientists believe the stars within these bubbles are critical to driving the evolution of galaxies.
In the Milky Way galaxy’s Aquila constellation, a cloud of gas and dust in space is home to at least 30 bubbles — each filled thousands of stars.

Spotted by the National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s ( NASA) Spitzer Space Telescope, the bubbles are anywhere between 10 light years to 30 light years in size.

Yellow circles and ovals show the locations of more than 30 bubbles, squares indicate bow shocks, red arcs of warm dust formed as winds from fast-moving stars push aside dust grainsNASA

The size of these bubbles is decided by the wind and radiation coming from the young and massive stars within their sphere. Stellar winds carry particle emissions from the stars and the pressure of light pushes them outward.

It’s difficult to determine their exact size due to their distance from Earth, according to NASA.

Stars with short lives
The many thousands of stars within these bubbles are OB stars — massive O and early B-type stars. OB stars are hot and big in size. Because they are so hot, they normally lead very short lives and don’t move very far within their lifespan.

But, they do emit a lot of radiation.
These four images show bow shocks, or arcs of warm dust formed as winds from fast-moving stars push aside dust grains scattered sparsely through most of the nebulaNASA

The radiation fields of OB stars, stellar winds and eventual supernova explosions dominate the structure of star forming galaxies — like the Milky Way — despite being relatively rare.

Scientists believe that these characteristics make OB stars critical in driving the evolution of galaxies.

See also:
Two massive bubbles stretch 700 light years above and below the center of the Milky Way

Milky Way's neighbour might not be so ‘dead’ with young stars brewing at its center
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