There were a few intriguing points about the article I was micro-reviewing for that post, and while checking some of them out I ran into references to the Local Bubble, the Gum Nebula, and other fairly large-scale features within fifteen thousand light-years of us.
The best illustration I've found yet, as a one-stop introduction to the area immediately around our sun isn't at its original URL any more. Either that, or their server is down at the moment. I did, however, find a copy of it, with a pretty good description, here:
- "Astronomy Picture of the Day"
a service of LHEA at NASA/GSFC & Michigan Tech. U. (February 17, 2002)
- "The Local Bubble and the Galactic Neighborhood"
NASA Images - a service of the Internet Archive (Linda Huff (American Scientist) (April 12, 2000?)
- This one's a zoomable version of the illustration, with links
Update (December 28, 2009)
I may be on to something here:
- "The History of the Local ISM: The Last 50 Million Years"
Goyette, J.; Bruhweiler, F. C.; Pitts, M.; Gabel, J. - American Astronomical Society, 198th AAS Meeting, #65.01; Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, Vol. 33, p.884