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 March 3, 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 March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

AP (Mar. 2, 2015) SpaceX launched it&apos;s 16th Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday night. The rocket was carrying two commercial communications satellites. (March 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Astronauts Leave Space Station for Third Spacewalk

Astronauts Leave Space Station for Third Spacewalk

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) NASA Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts perform their third spacewalk in eight days outside the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacesuit Water Leaks Not An Issue On Latest ISS Walk

Spacesuit Water Leaks Not An Issue On Latest ISS Walk

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Astronauts are ahead of schedule with hardware upgrades to the International Space Station, despite last week&apos;s spacesuit water leak scare. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nitrogen-Based Life Might Swim On Saturn's Largest Moon

Nitrogen-Based Life Might Swim On Saturn's Largest Moon

Newsy (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers at Cornell University theorize life might exist on Saturn’s largest moon as nitrogen-based organisms. Video provided by Newsy
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