Feeds

Milky Way 'POPS PILLS and SNORTS GAS', insist boffins

Astro-experts peer into our galactic party town's Smith Cloud

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Astroboffins have labelled the Milky Way, the gaggle of stars in which Earth resides, a “pill-popping galaxy hooked on gas”.

The lurid label comes from Dr Alex Hill, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Astronomy and Space Science at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the paper he's co-authored titled “Magnetized Gas in the Smith High Velocity Cloud”.

The Smith Cloud is about two million times larger than Sol, is located just outside the galaxy but will hit its core some time in the next 30 million years. Importantly, it appears to have a decent magnetic field, which the boffins say makes it a “pill” of gas that can make it into the galactic core without falling apart as it passes through outer regions of the galaxy.

The Smith Cloud, a globule of gas on the fringe of the galaxy

The Smith Cloud, a "pill" of gas drifting towards the galactic core
Image: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF, from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope

The Smith Cloud's likely future integrity is important, because the core needs lots of raw materials to keep spewing out stars. If objects like the Smith Cloud did not posses magnetic fields, hypotheses about the galactic core as a star factory would look wonky.

Hence the boffins' “pill-popping, hooked on gas” analogy.

Just when the galactic-scale hangover ensues is not explained. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.