And just like that, we’ve got a new candidate for the most distant object in the universe. It was only in January that Hubble data showed that the space telescope had glimpsed a galaxy so distant that it appeared as it did when the universe was only a few hundred million years old. Now a gamma-ray burst first spotted by NASA’s Swift satellite in April of 2009 could potentially replace it as the most distant object ever seen.
Something strange is afoot in the Crab Nebula. Famous for beaming a steady dose of radiation at Earth at regular intervals thanks to the spinning neutron star at its center, the nebula has long been of interest to astronomers. So one can imagine their interest when an enormous gamma-ray flare five times more powerful than any previously detected burst from the region, making these "the highest-energy electrons known to be associated with any cosmic source," according to NASA.
A Harvard astronomer and his team have turned up something quite big while running publicly available data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and by big we mean both in scientific magnitude and in astronomical size: two massive gamma-ray emitting bubbles extending 25,000 light-years both north and south of the Milky Way's center. The researchers aren't sure where they come from or why they're there, but the discovery of this massive new structure in the heart of our own galaxy is being equated to discovering a new continent on Earth.
NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope spent a year collecting data from a thousand gamma ray sources and came up with this, the best map to date of the extreme universe. It also gave Einstein a shot in the arm by confirming the scientist's theories of space-time.