Hubble solves the 40-year-old mystery of the Magellanic Stream
2013 08 12

By Katie Collins | Ars Technica



The origins of a mysterious ribbon of gas that stretches nearly halfway around the Milky Way has been discovered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Ever since its discovery 40 years ago, astronomers have wondered where the Magellanic Stream originated. And now they have their answer. The stream was, for the most part, stripped from the Small Magellanic Cloud around two billion years ago.

The Small Magellanic Cloud is one of the dwarf galaxies that orbit our own. Computer models had predicted that the stream had been torn entirely from the smaller cloud, which is why astronomers were surprised to discover that a small part of the Magellanic Stream was also torn more recently from the larger of the Magellanic Clouds.

The sources were finally determined by using Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. Along most of the stream, the team found low abundances of oxygen and sulphur that correlated with levels found in the Small Magellanic Cloud two billion years ago. The composition of an inner region of the stream, however, was found to be full of heavy elements that made it more consistent with the Large Magellanic Cloud.

[...]

Read the full article at: arstechnica.com








Related Articles
Origin of Magellanic Stream that Wraps Halfway Around Milky Way Discovered
There’s a mysterious glow in this galaxy
Infinity Symbol of Dense Gas Observed at the Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy
Bubbles of Energy Are Found in Galaxy


Latest News from our Front Page

Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police
2014 09 30
Theresa May to announce new Extremist Disruption Orders to strengthen counter-terrorism if the Tories win the next general election Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives. They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, ...
Water rationing hits California: limit of 50 gallons per person per day or face fines of $500
2014 09 29
Millions of Californians are about to be hit with strict water rationing -- daily "allocation" numbers that represent the maximum amount of water you’re allowed to use for any purpose. Households that exceed the allocation limit will face stiff fines of hundreds of dollars per violation. "In July, the State Water Resources Control Board passed stage one emergency regulations, giving powers ...
Much of Earth’s Water is Older than the Sun
2014 09 29
Much of the water on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system likely predates the birth of the sun, a new study reports. The finding suggests that water is commonly incorporated into newly forming planets throughout the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, researchers said — good news for anyone hoping that Earth isn’t the only world to host life. “The implications of ...
Did the Vikings Get a Bum Rap?
2014 09 29
A Yale historian wants us to rethink the terrible tales about the Norse. This illustration shows the stereotype of Viking marauders wreaking mayhem, even on clergy. The scene depicts the monastery at Clonmacnoise, Ireland. The Vikings gave no quarter when they stormed the city of Nantes, in what is now western France, in June 843—not even to the monks barricaded in the ...
David Cameron Says Non-Violent Conspiracy Theorists Are Just As Dangerous As ISIS
2014 09 29
David Cameron told the U.N. that "non-violent extremism" is just as dangerous as terrorism and must be eradicated using all means at the government’s disposal. He references 9/11 and 7/7 Truthers as examples of the type of extremism that must be dealt in a similar fashion to ISIS. If you thought Obama’s War is Peace speech to the U.N. was creepy, ...
More News »