Hubble finds ghostly object in deep space
In a galaxy far, far away: The Hubble Space Telescope has captured this image of Hanny's Voorwerp.
January 11th, 2011
10:04 AM ET

Hubble finds ghostly object in deep space

There's a green blob in space, but unlike a bad science fiction movie, it's not coming to take over Earth. Probably.

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a green cloud of gas about 650 million light-years from Earth. It's been named Hanny's Voorwerp, Dutch for Hanny's Object.

The object is illuminated by a beam of light from a quasar that may have gone dark 200,000 years ago, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

The Voorwerp is about the size of our Milky Way galaxy and is part of a 300,000-light-year-long stream of gas, the institute says. The green color is from glowing oxygen.

What appears to be a gaping hole in Hanny's Voorwerp actually may be a shadow cast by an object in the quasar's light path, according to the institute.

"This phenomenon is similar to a fly on a movie projector lens casting a shadow on a movie screen," the institute says.

The object may have been formed by a collision of two galaxies, according to the institute.

But don't worry. It won't bump into our galaxy within our lifetime.


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Filed under: Space
soundoff (469 Responses)
  1. JC

    This has to be a Hollywood publicist's creation-just in time for the Green Hornet movie

    January 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. O Why Bother...

    This object may be 300,000 (insert correct unit of measure) long but it's certainly not miles...
    If it's roughly the same size as the Milky Way galaxy then I'd say it can't be miles...!

    January 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cape Bretoner

    The tidal tail is not in a galaxy, it surrounds a galaxy. It is not 300,000 miles long, it is 300,000 light years long.

    January 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DingoDog

    I wish it would attack Earth, THAT would be exciting!

    January 11, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    There's no way the meant 300,000 miles, the meant 300,000 light years probably, it's a typo.

    January 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    This article was posted by CNN's Jim Kavanagh but did he write it or his 3rd grade child?

    January 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jeannette

    the mark of slytherin forming.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LightenUp

    CNN/Google – Is it possible to overlay the area of origin for all these negative comments onto a map of the world?
    It would go a long way in deciding where NOT to live.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Me

    It's a developing galaxy.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cold War Veteran

    Another way to put it in perspective is that this "green blob" diameter is about 1.67 times the diameter of the Milkly Way galaxy. That would make it approx. 985,300,000,000,000,000 miles across!....which is actually huge for a single object that is not a galaxy. That is probably one reason why it made the news.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Oh also I know our milkyway galaxy isn't 300,000 light years, I believe it is about 100,000 light years across.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |


    January 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave308

    Uh, 300,000 miles from here is just a little farther than the moon's orbit.

    Our sun is about 865,000 miles in diameter.

    Our galaxy is about 600,000,000,000,000,000 miles across (diameter), and about 6,000,000,000,000,000 miles in thickness.

    If you follow the link to the NASA site, it correctly states that the gas stream is about 300,000 light-years (not miles) long, or about 3 times the size of our galaxy.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Phil

    I'm tired of reading inaccurate news... It's a hundred miles the size of your house...probably.

    January 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Like that

    A story about nothing, that is read because the headline leads you to think their is information in the article. But guess what. Psyche!!!!

    January 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
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