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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.