What if, there were noodles, lasagne sheets or hazelnuts or, at least, invisible structures shaped like them floating around in our galaxy? Yes, it is a possibility.
According to a new study, invisible structures shaped like noodles, lasagne sheets or hazelnuts could be floating around in our Galaxy radically challenging our understanding of gas conditions in the Milky Way.
First author Keith Bannister of CSIRO said that the structures appear to be ‘lumps’ in the thin gas that lies between the stars in our Galaxy, adding that they could radically change ideas about this interstellar gas, which is the Galaxy’s star recycling depot, housing material from old stars that will be refashioned into new ones.
Bannister and his colleagues described breakthrough observations of one of these ‘lumps’ that have allowed them to make the first estimate of its shape. The observations were made possible by an innovative new technique the scientists employed using CSIRO’s Compact Array telescope in eastern Australia.
Astronomers got the first hints of the mysterious objects 30 years ago when they saw radio waves from a bright, distant galaxy called a quasar varying wildly in strength.
“Lumps in this gas work like lenses, focusing and defocusing the radio waves, making them appear to strengthen and weaken over a period of days, weeks or months,” Dr Bannister said.
The study appears in Science.