MeerKAT spots Milky Way bubbles

The MeerKAT telescope has captured an incredible structure lying at the centre of our Galaxy.

Published: October 19, 2019 at 4:02 pm
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Milky Way bubbles captured by the MeerKAT telescope. Credit: Oxford, SARAO

A colossal hourglass-shaped structure has been spotted in the middle of the Milky Way by the MeerKAT telescope at the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory.


Researchers examining the almost-symmetrical pair of enormous radio-emitting bubbles that tower above and below the central plane of our galaxy (marked by the series of bright features running horizontally through the image) think they were formed by a phenomenally energetic burst that erupted near Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the centre of our Galaxy, millions of years ago.

“These enormous bubbles have, until now, been hidden by the glare of extremely bright radio emissions from the centre of the Galaxy,” says Dr Fernando Camilo of SARAO.

Did you know that the Andromeda Galaxy is due to collide and merge with the Milky Way galaxy? Read about this galactic collision in our guide to the Andromeda-Milky Way collision.


Image credit: Oxford, SARAO


Before going freelance, Rob spent almost four years on staff at BBC Science Focus magazine subediting news, features and reviews. He's now a freelance journalist and has written about everything from electric cars to decomposing bodies… although space and speed are what fascinate him most.


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