There are all sorts of mysterious cosmic objects in the Universe and astronomers discovered that a giant gas cloud is headed towards Milky Way.
We are probably never going to unravel all there is in the Universe, not even all there is in our galaxy, since there are still many things we don’t know about our own planet. But every day, astronomers discover something new which is either amazing or dangerous or both.
Back in the 1960s, scientists discovered this huge cloud that’s headed towards our Milky Way and they called it the Smith Cloud. This is a high-velocity gas cloud which has a determined orbit. According to the astronomers’ measurements the cloud travels at almost 700,000 miles per hour and should reach the Milky Way in about 30 million years’ time. Also, it should have 30 times the diameter of the moon.
It was previously thought that the cloud was made up only by hydrogen and helium. However, astronomers have recently discovered using the Hubble Spectograph that they can see UV light coming from the cores of three galaxies located somewhere beyond the cloud. Having this light, astronomers can estimate what other substances the cloud contains.
They have found that the cloud also has sulfur just about as much the outer disk of the Milky Way has, which means it was “polluted” by star remains. Because of this observation, astronomers believe that the Smith Cloud has been a part of the Milky Way in the past and for some reason is was ejected about 70 million years and now it is trying to come back home.
Also, another theory has formed. One that says that as soon as the Smith Cloud hits the Milky Way disk it will be able to generate about two million suns. The main reason behind the theory is that the cloud as well as the outer disk of our galaxy contain very large amounts of gas. This gas has enough power to fuel star formation.
The giant gas cloud is the best example of how recycled gas can lead to the formation and evolution of galaxies. However, until 30 million years pass, we cannot be 100% sure of what is going to happen when the cloud finds its way back home.
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