Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gas 'Finger' Points To Galaxies' Future

Date:
February 4, 2008
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Like a fork piercing a fried egg, a giant finger of hydrogen gas is poking through our Milky Way Galaxy from outside, astronomers have found. The location of the intrusion may give a crucial clue to the fate of the little galaxies the gas flows from, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

as streaming from the Magellanic Clouds is piercing the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Credit: John Rowe Animations

Like a fork piercing a fried egg, a giant finger of hydrogen gas is poking through our Milky Way Galaxy from outside, astronomers using CSIRO radio telescopes at Parkes and Narrabri have found.

Related Articles


The location of the intrusion may give a crucial clue to the fate of the little galaxies the gas flows from, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.

"We're thrilled because we can determine exactly where this gas is ploughing into the Milky Way -- it's usually extremely hard to get distances to such gas features," said the research team leader, Dr Naomi McClure-Griffiths of CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility.

The gas finger, called HVC306-2+230, is running into the starry disk of our Galaxy about 70 thousand light-years (21kpc) away from us. On the sky, the point of contact is near the Southern Cross.

The finger is the pointy end of the so-called Leading Arm of gas that streams ahead of the Magellanic Clouds towards the Milky Way.

Until last year, astronomers generally thought that the Magellanic Clouds had orbited our Galaxy many times, and were doomed to be ripped apart and swallowed by their gravitational overlord.

But then new Hubble Space Telescope measurements showed the Clouds were moving much faster than previously thought. In turn, this implied that the Clouds are paying our Galaxy a one-time visit rather than being its long-term companions.

Knowing where the Leading Arm is crossing the Galactic Disk may help astronomers to predict where the Clouds themselves will go in future.

"We think the Leading Arm is a tidal feature, gas pulled out of the Magellanic Clouds by the Milky Way's gravity," said Dr McClure-Griffiths.

"Where this gas goes, we'd expect the Clouds to follow, at least approximately."

The team's measurement of where the Leading Arm intrudes into the Milky Way is more in line with the models that assume the Magellanic Clouds have been orbiting our Galaxy than with the models that have the Clouds just passing by.

Dr McClure-Griffiths cautions that this is not the final word on the subject, saying that the latter models were far from ruled out.

But the new result suggests that the Magellanic Clouds will eventually merge with the Milky Way, rather than zooming past.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Gas 'Finger' Points To Galaxies' Future." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204094455.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2008, February 4). Gas 'Finger' Points To Galaxies' Future. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204094455.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Gas 'Finger' Points To Galaxies' Future." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204094455.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Video Shows Stars If They Were as Close to Earth as Sun

Video Shows Stars If They Were as Close to Earth as Sun

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Russia&apos;s space agency created a video that shows what our sky would look like with different star if they were as close as our sun. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) walks us through the cool video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins