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Jun 17, 2022

Did supernovae help form Barnard’s Loop?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, materials

Astronomers studying the structure of the Milky Way galaxy have released the highest-resolution 3D view of the Orion star-forming region. The image and interactive figure were presented today at a press conference hosted by the American Astronomical Society.

Led by researchers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, the work connects 3D data on young stars and interstellar gas around the Orion complex of star-forming regions. Analysis of the 2D and 3D images, alongside theoretical modeling, shows that supernova explosions within the last 4 million years produced large cavities in the interstellar material associated with Orion.

One particular cavity the team discovered may help explain the origin of Barnard’s Loop, a famous and mysterious semi-circle in the night sky first observed in 1894.

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