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24th of August 2020
Cold bullets of gas from the Mily Way
by di Teodoro et al.
An international team of researchers have discovered a dense, cold gas that's been shot out from the centre of the Milky Way "like bullets". The observations were primarily carried out with the 12m diameter Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) radio telescope, located 5,050 meters above sea level in northern Chile (pictured above). Complementary observations with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA) and Green Bank Telescope were also used by the team. "Galaxies can be really good at shooting themselves in the foot," Professor McClure-Griffiths (ANU) said. "When you drive out a lot of mass, you're losing some of the material that could be used to form stars, and if you lose enough of it, the galaxy can't form stars at all anymore. So, to be able to see hints of the Milky Way losing this star forming gas is kind of exciting -- it makes you wonder what's going to happen next!" The centre of the Milky Way is home to a massive black hole, but it is not yet clear whether this black hole has expelled the gas, or whether it was blown by the thousands of massive stars at the centre of the galaxy. The results were published last week in Nature. (Image credit: ESO/B. Tafreshi (twanight.org))

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