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Waspie_Dwarf

Cool Pools of Gas in the Galaxy

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Shining a Light on Cool Pools of Gas in the Galaxy

Newly formed stars shine brightly, practically crying out, "Hey, look at me!" But not everything in our Milky Way galaxy is easy to see. The bulk of material between the stars in the galaxy -- the cool hydrogen gas from which stars spring -- is nearly impossible to find.

A new study from the Hershel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation, is shining a light on these hidden pools of gas, revealing their whereabouts and quantities. In the same way that dyes are used to visualize swirling motions of transparent fluids, the Herschel team has used a new tracer to map the invisible hydrogen gas.

The discovery reveals that the reservoir of raw material for making stars had been underestimated before -- almost by one third -- and extends farther out from our galaxy's center than known before.

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