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Contact: Christine Pulliam
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Caption: From end to end, the newly discovered gamma-ray bubbles extend 50,000 light-years, or roughly half of the Milky Way's diameter, as shown in this illustration. Hints of the bubbles' edges were first observed in X-rays (blue) by ROSAT, a Germany-led mission operating in the 1990s. The gamma rays mapped by Fermi (magenta) extend much farther from the galaxy's plane.
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Related news release: Astronomers find giant, previously unseen structure in our galaxy