Astrophysics

Galactic Corona from Superbubble Froth

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Science  20 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5529, pp. 397
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5529.397a

Theory predicts that a typical spiral galaxy, such as the Milky Way, should be surrounded by a corona of very hot gas, but it has been difficult to identify the coronal x-ray signature from our position within the galaxy. Now, Wang et al. have detected a corona around the galaxy NGC 4631 using the high resolution and long exposure time afforded by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The x-ray emission from the coronal gas is enhanced in regions where a froth of superbubbles, created by massive star clusters, have broken out of the plane of the disk, suggesting that the corona is heated by active star formation. The coronal morphology is similar to the radio halo morphology, which indicates that the hot coronal gas may be deforming the magnetic field lines of the galactic disk. — LR

Astrophys. J.555, L99 (2001).

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