NASA image release November 9, 2010
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From end to end, the gamma-ray bubbles extend 50,000 light-years, or roughly half of the Milky Way’s diameter, as shown in this illustration. The bubbles stretch across 100 degrees, spanning the sky from the constellation Virgo to the constellation Grus. If the structure were rotated into the galaxy’s plane, it would extend beyond our solar system. Hints of the bubbles’ edges were first observed in X-rays (blue) by ROSAT (Röntgen Satellite), a Germany-led mission operating in the 1990s. The gamma rays mapped by Fermi (magenta) extend much farther from the galaxy’s plane.