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Hubble Space Telescope observations suggest that the cloud emanated from the outer edge of the Milky Way some 70 million years ago.
originally posted by: WeRpeons
This baffles my mind. How do scientists know how old something is that's sooooooooooo far away???? I know on earth they use carbon dating but when they don't have anything to look at under a microscope they have to use something to get an approximate age.
The finding that the SC [Smith Cloud] is metal-enriched lends support to scenarios where it represents recycled Galactic material, rather than the remnant of a dwarf galaxy or accreting intergalactic gas. The metallicity and trajectory of the Cloud are both indicative of an origin in the outer disk. However, its large mass and prograde kinematics remain to be fully explained.
Astronomers have measured this comet-shaped region of gas to be 11,000 light-years long and 2,500 light-years across. If the cloud could be seen in visible light, it would span the sky with an apparent diameter 30 times greater than the size of the full moon.
n particular, they looked for sulfur in the cloud, which can absorb ultraviolet light. “By measuring sulfur, you can learn how enriched in sulfur atoms the cloud is compared to the sun,” Fox explained. Sulfur is a good gauge of how many heavier elements reside in the cloud.
originally posted by: IgnoranceIsntBlisss
a reply to: SirKonstantin
We're screwed! Hump for your lives!
The cloud is on a return collision course and is expected to plow into the Milky Way’s disk in about 30 million years, according to NASA scientists. When it does, astronomers believe it will ignite a spectacular burst of star formation, perhaps providing enough gas to make 2 million suns.