Magnetically-shielded giant gas cloud on collision course with Milky Way Galaxy

November 1, 2013SPACEDiscovered in 1963 by the Dutch astronomer Gail Bieger, the Smith Cloud is one of thousands of high velocity clouds flying around the outskirts of the Milky Way Galaxy. The cloud is at least 2 million times the mass of our Sun. If it were visible to the naked eye, it would look 20 times wider than the full Moon. Traveling at 130 km a second, the cloud is only 8,000 light-years from the Galaxy’s disk. “Clouds like this may provide the fuel for our Galaxy to make stars. But they must be held together by something, or they’d disintegrate when they hit the warm outer part of the Galaxy – the halo. They wouldn’t reach the Galaxy’s disk, where the star-making is going on,” explained Dr. Alex Hill from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, who is the lead author of a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. Dr. Hill and his colleagues from the United States have found that the Smith Cloud has a magnetic field.
“It’s 50,000 times weaker than the Earth’s, but it’s probably still strong enough to keep the cloud together,” Dr. Hill said. “This is one of the few such clouds large enough for us to be able measure its magnetic field,” added senior author Dr. Naomi McClure-Griffiths, also from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. “It seems the cloud is protected by a magnetic bubble, the same way the Earth’s magnetic field protects it from the solar wind.” Astronomers think origins of so-called high velocity clouds are mixed, some stemming from burst bubbles in the gas of our Galaxy, some being primordial gas, and some associated with small galaxies our Galaxy’s gravity is shredding from a distance. The Smith Cloud is probably either semi-primordial gas condensing from the halo of the Milky Way Galaxy or gas stripped from another galaxy. The discovery also could help explain how high velocity clouds remain mostly intact during their mergers with the disks of galaxies, where they would provide fresh fuel for a new generation of stars. –Sci-News
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5 Responses to Magnetically-shielded giant gas cloud on collision course with Milky Way Galaxy

  1. suez62suez says:

    Isn’t God Awesome, just look at those pictures!!! Our God reins!!!

    • JamesKin says:

      yep He sure is Awesome. Funny how a man gives God only 2 choices as to what it could be. Makes me laugh out loud, Ha ha ha
      “The Smith Cloud is probably either semi-primordial gas condensing from the halo of the Milky Way Galaxy or gas stripped from another galaxy.” Such a foolish notion.
      Pro 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

    • James says:

      Those are NOT photographs, they are renderings/artificial depictions of the possible collision of the Milky Way galaxy and a gas cloud.

  2. tonic says:

    Perhaps it might be that dark energy and dark matter are linked by magnetism. And this cloud is a very basic example.
    Magnetism is a big player, but gets overlooked constantly because it,s source “must be within our current understanding of it”
    Our currant understanding of magnetism outside of what we need to cope with it on Earth is zilch.

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