(ORDO NEWS) — The center of our own galaxy may be one of the most mysterious places in the universe. Astronomers examined the thick dust to see what was happening there.
All this dust complicates the life of scientists who are trying to study radiation in the center of the Milky Way, and what exactly is its source.
It is an astronomical feature that, in a sense, we know more about other galaxies than about our own. Scientists have studied the energy emanating from the center of thousands of other spiral galaxies in visible light. But for our Milky Way, this knowledge is blocked by thick clouds of gas and dust.
In the center of the Milky Way there is a huge amount of hydrogen. This hydrogen is ionized by energy from the galactic center.
The WHAM telescope is designed to monitor ionized hydrogen.
The point is not only that hydrogen is ionized. After the gas is ionized, the ions usually recombine to neutrality for a short period of time. The fact that all this hydrogen is constantly ionized by an energy source is the link between the WHAM data and the energy at the center of the Milky Way.
Astronomers believe that star formation is the source of energy for this ionization, but this is not final.
WHAM is specifically designed to study ionized gas. The Milky Way contains its thick layer called Warm Ionized Medium (WIM), which is an excellent and basic component of the galactic interstellar medium. The environment is the main goal of WHAM.
“Without a constant source of energy, free electrons usually find each other and recombine to return to a neutral state in a relatively short period of time,” explains co-author L. Matthew Huffner of Embry-Riddle University of Aerobiology in a press release.
“The ability to see ionized gas in a new way should help us find sources that support the energy of all this gas.”
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