Trajectory of Smith Cloud

This diagram shows the 100-million-year-long trajectory of the Smith Cloud as it arcs out of the plane of our Milky Way galaxy and then returns like a boomerang. Measurements made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that the cloud, because of its chemical composition, came out of a region near the edge of the galaxy's disc of stars 70 million years ago. The cloud is now stretched into the shape of a comet by gravity and gas pressure. Following a ballistic path, the cloud will fall back into the disc and trigger new star formation 30 million years from now.

Link:

NASA Press release
Size of Smith Cloud on the sky
Hubble Characterizes the High-Velocity Smith Cloud

Credit:

NASAESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo1604a
Type:Artwork
Release date:29 January 2016, 10:00
Size:1886 x 3000 px

About the Object

Name:Smith Cloud
Type:Milky Way
Category:Illustrations

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
480.3 KB

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