Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas

Date:
November 25, 2013
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Our Galaxy may have been swallowing "pills" -- clouds of gas with a magnetic wrapper -- to keep making stars for the past eight billion years.

Our Galaxy (an artist’s conception): where does it get the fuel to keep forming stars?
Credit: Nick Risinger

"Food pills" were a staple of science fiction for decades. For our Galaxy, they may be real.

Related Articles


The Galaxy has been making stars for the last 8 billion years. What's kept it going all that time?

When old stars die, some of their gas goes back into the galactic "soup" for star making. But in the long run a lot of it gets locked up in long-lived dwarf stars.

So the Galaxy needs fresh supplies of gas.

Astronomer think that gas rains in from intergalactic space, probably in the form of "clouds," and that this fuels the star-making.

But there's a problem.

If a regular gas cloud were to hit the warm outer parts of the Galaxy -- the halo -- the gas would dissipate, and not reach the Galaxy's starry disk where the party is going on.

Something must hold the gas clouds together on their way to the Galaxy's digestive system.

CSIRO astronomer Alex Hill and his colleagues think they have the answer.

These researchers have been studying a gas cloud falling into the Galaxy -- a big one, called the Smith Cloud, after the woman who discovered it -- and have found it has a magnetic field.

The field is weak, about 0.002% of the strength of Earth's.

But the astronomers think it's strong enough to hold the cloud together, so that it can deliver its payload of gas into the Galaxy's disk.

The Cloud's like a coated aspirin tablet that goes through your stomach undigested, then releases its contents when it hits your intestine.

Also known as Smith's Cloud, it's one of thousands of high-velocity clouds of hydrogen gas flying around the outskirts of our Galaxy.

Astronomers think their origins 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 our Galaxy or gas stripped from another galaxy.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Alex S. Hill, S. A. Mao, Robert A. Benjamin, Felix J. Lockman, Naomi M. McClure-Griffiths. MAGNETIZED GAS IN THE SMITH HIGH VELOCITY CLOUD. The Astrophysical Journal, 2013; 777 (1): 55 DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/777/1/55

Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125101209.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2013, November 25). Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125101209.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131125101209.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