A false-color image of Smith’s Cloud made with data from the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). It was named after the astronomer who discovered it in 1963, and it contains enough hydrogen to make a million stars like the Sun. Eleven thousand light-years long and 2,500 light-years wide, it is only 8,000 light-years from our Galaxy’s disk. It is careening toward our Galaxy at more than 150 miles per second, aimed to strike the Milky Way’s disk at an angle of about 45 degrees. It’s comet-like shape is due to its interaction with the very outer gases of our Galaxy. It will be stretched apart before it finally hits the denser parts of the Milky Way in 40 million years.
Credit: B. Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF from data provided by F. Lockman
Technical Details Telescope: GBT; GBT; GBT; GBT Band: L; L; L; L Date: 1858-11-18T00:00:00.000000; 1858-11-18T00:00:00.000000; 1858-11-18T00:00:00.000000; 1858-11-18T00:00:00.000000 Center: RA: 20:07:18.95, Dec: 0:01:45.61 Field of View: 907 x 775 arcminutes