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Gas Clouds Raining Star Stuff onto Milky Way Galaxy

Gas Clouds Raining Star Stuff onto Milky Way Galaxy


Depicts: The Milky Way
Copyright: Image composite by Ingrid Kallick of Possible Designs, Madison Wisconsin. The background Milky Way image is a drawing made at Lund Observatory. High-velocity clouds are from the survey done at Dwingeloo Observatory (Hulsbosch & Wakker, 1988)

This composite radio light image and rendition of our galaxy as seen in visible light shows enigmatic "high-velocity clouds" of gas high above the plane of the Milky Way which rain gas into the galaxy, seeding it with the stuff of stars.

The cloud outlined, and possibly others too, is now known to have low heavy element content and to be raining down onto the Milky Way disk, seeding it with material for star birth. Identifying this infalling gas helps in solving a long-standing mystery of galactic evolution by revealing a source of the low-metallicity gas required to explain the observed chemical composition of stars near the Sun.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
14-Jun-2024 19:50 UT

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