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Waspie_Dwarf

Interstellar X-ray Debate Settled

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NASA-funded X-ray Instrument Settles Interstellar Debate

New findings from a NASA-funded instrument have resolved a decades-old puzzle about a fog of low-energy X-rays observed over the entire sky. Thanks to refurbished detectors first flown on a NASA sounding rocket in the 1970s, astronomers have now confirmed the long-held suspicion that much of this glow stems from a region of million-degree interstellar plasma known as the local hot bubble, or LHB.

At the same time, the study also establishes upper limits on the amount of low-energy, or soft, X-rays produced within our planetary system by the solar wind, a gusty outflow of charged particles emanating from the sun.

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NASA X-ray Instrument Confirms the 'Local Hot Bubble'

This animation illustrates solar wind charge exchange in action. An atom of interstellar helium (blue) collides with a solar wind ion (red), losing one of its electrons (yellow) to the other particle. As it settles into a lower-energy state, the electron emits a soft X-ray.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Source: NASA Goddard - Multimedia

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