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They bubble!

A Galactic Cauldron, NGC 3079 Cocorico !

On August 16th, 2001, the NASA (STScI) publishes on Internet the photography of NGC 3079 and a zoom on its core, obtained by the HST, accompanied with the following note:

These NASA Hubble Space Telescope snapshots reveal dramatic activities within the core of the galaxy NGC 3079, where a lumpy bubble of hot gas is rising from a cauldron of glowing matter. The picture (at left) shows the bubble in the center of the galaxy's disk. The structure is more than 3,000 light-years wide and rises 3,500 light-years above the galaxy's disk. The smaller photo (at right) is a close-up view of the bubble. Astronomers suspect that the bubble is being blown by "winds" (high-speed streams of particles) released during a burst of star formation. Gaseous filaments at the top of the bubble are whirling around in a vortex and are being expelled into space. Eventually, this gas will rain down upon the galaxy's disk where it may collide with gas clouds, compress them, and form a new generation of stars. The two white dots just above the bubble are probably stars in the galaxy.


These photos, remarkable and exceptional by their quality, deserve an attentive examination. The questions which assail me are::

  1. What are and wherefrom these gas strands arise which are thrown above the central bulb of the galaxy ?

  2. Do they come directly and vertically from a possible central black hole, or do they take another path?

If they spring vertically from a black hole, then one of the hypotheses that I formulated previously about the black hole of M87 would, in fact, be contradicted, that is the ejection of mass takes place only in the plane of rotation of the black hole.

To try to eliminate the doubt, I make some digital processing, and I obtain the two images shown:

  • At first sight, nothing is amiss. But if we zoom on the image, as shown, we can observe on one hand, the very particular morphology of the central bulb, and on the other hand, the existence of two symmetric arms of mass ejected from the bulb and in the plane of the galaxy.

  • Note that the structure of the core, revealed here, presents big resemblances with the morphology of the MilkyeWay, whose a peeviously DP image we can see opposite. The resemblance is much more than a simple analogy. It is obviously a part of a very general phenomenon.

  • But this image still does not allow to determine for sure on the route of the strands of gases ejected from the bulb. So I make an additional processing of the original picture.

Voie Lactée

Now things begin to appear more clearly.

  • The strands of gas are ejected from the bulb, but in the plane of the galaxy. Their trajectories then move perpendicularly to this plane, only much farther out.

  • It is impossible to be definitive on the exact morphology of the central bulb, the original image, which is saturated in this area, does not allow a through analysis. Also the resolution remains insufficient.

  1. The strands of gas (plasmas) are guided by the magnetic field in the galaxy core.

We cannot reject a priori this hypothesis. However it does not seem essential. If it were the case, and if the dominant magnetic field is the one who arises from the core, then the strands would have quite another shape; they would be confined by this field and the global shape would not be that of a tulip, but that of a sheaf.

  1. The strands are subjected to the viscosity of the surroundings in which they are ejected.

This hypothesis, even if it seems a priori absurd, is the one which allows the best interpretation. Especially as all the processed images of galaxies tend to confirms this, whether it is ESO 269-57, NGC 1512, or ESO 510-13.


The density of the mass (gas) in the cores of galaxies is big enough to infer detectable effects of viscosity.


 Last Release: 06/01/13 

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