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Humongous, gassy halo found surrounding Milky Way

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At www.csmonitor.com

Our galaxy - and the nearby Large and Small Magellanic Clouds as well - appears to be surrounded by an enormous halo of hot gas, several hundred times hotter than the surface of the Sun and with an equivalent mass of up to 60 billion Suns, suggesting that other galaxies may be similarly encompassed and providing a possible clue to the mystery of the galaxy's missing baryons - a.k.a., dark matter. 'Our work shows that, for reasonable values of parameters and with reasonable assumptions, the Chandra observations imply a huge reservoir of hot gas around the Milky Way,' said study co-author Smita Mathur of Ohio State University in Columbus. 'It may extend for a few hundred thousand light-years around the Milky Way or it may extend farther into the surrounding local group of galaxies. Either way, its mass appears to be very large.'

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At www.csmonitor.com


 

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