jmizrahi writes: A group of scientists working with data from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope said Tuesday that they had discovered two bubbles of energy erupting from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The bubbles, they said at a news conference and in a paper to be published Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal, extend 25,000 light years up and down from each side of the galaxy and contain the energy equivalent to 100,000 supernova explosions.
“They’re big,” said Doug Finkbeiner of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, leader of the team that discovered them.
The source of the bubbles is a mystery. One possibility is that they are fueled by a wave of star births and deaths at the center of the galaxy. Another option is a gigantic belch from the black hole known to reside, like Jabba the Hutt, at the center of the Milky Way. What it is apparently not is dark matter, the mysterious something that astronomers say makes up a quarter of the universe and holds galaxies together.
jmizrahi writes: "I've recently started working in experimental physics. There are quite a few programs used in the lab, for assorted purposes--Labview, Igor, Inventor, Eagle, just to name a few. I've noticed that they're all proprietary. This seems to be standard practice, which surprised me. Does anybody know of any open source software intended for scientific research? Does anybody work in a lab that makes an effort to use open source software?"