Trajectory of Smith Cloud

This diagram shows the 100-million-year-long trajectory of the Smith Cloud as it arcs out of the plane of our Milky Way galaxy and then returns like a boomerang. Measurements made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that the cloud, because of its chemical composition, came out of a region near the edge of the galaxy's disc of stars 70 million years ago. The cloud is now stretched into the shape of a comet by gravity and gas pressure. Following a ballistic path, the cloud will fall back into the disc and trigger new star formation 30 million years from now.


NASA Press release
Size of Smith Cloud on the sky
Hubble Characterizes the High-Velocity Smith Cloud


NASAESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:29 January 2016, 10:00
Size:1886 x 3000 px

About the Object

Name:Smith Cloud
Type:Milky Way

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
480.3 KB


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