Evidence of a local hot bubble carved by a supernova

July 30, 2014 3:10 PM

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I spent this past weekend backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park, where although the snow-swept peaks and the dangerously close wildlife were staggering, the night sky stood in triumph. Without a fire, the stars, a few planets, and the surprisingly bright Milky Way provided the only light to guide our way.

But the night sky as seen by the human eye is relatively dark. Little visible light stretching across the cosmos from stars, nebulae, and galaxies actually reaches Earth. The entire night sky as seen by an X-ray detector, however, glows faintly.

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