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. bambam

    That's just tom delays fart when he gets out of jail

    January 11, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TG

    What kind of "news" is this? It was discovered in 2007

    January 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bambam

    I would like to be a plane piliot I'd take off and go strait up in the sky to see how far I could go with 150 passengers

    January 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. greyfox

    Yes, poorly written, and with a big blooper in the numbers. The 300,000 miles comment shows their scientific ignorance. The number should be in light years. 300,000 miles is only about three times the distance from our sun to earth.

    January 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      Obviously science isn't your strong suit... nor is Google. The sun is about 93 million miles from Earth, or 310 times the distance mentioned in this article. That means, if the numbers in this article were in fact true, your could fit 310 Milky Way Galaxies between Earth and the sun.

      January 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Michael

    Harvey, the article clear;y states 300,000 LIGHT YEARS, not miles. Proof read your own words. Insofar as disbanding or reducing the funding for NASA, the space agency has created so much technology for us mere mortals that by reducing or disbanding it, we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot. Man is already in space, people; this rock we inhabit is already orbiting the sun ... deal with it. Mankind's destiny is to explore and colonize first other spots in the solar system before transversing the galaxy.

    January 11, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • BinNC

      Sadly, you came to the party late. The article stated 300,000 "miles" and implied that that measurement was also the size of the Milky Way Galaxy.

      January 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin Bieber

      It did say 300,000 miles... They fixed it because they realized they were wrong.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. outawork

    Unfortunately tomorrow in some classroom this baloney will be taught as fact.

    January 11, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ombre

    Haha the first thing I did when I read 300,000 miles was scroll down to see how fast someone caught that error, about 5 posts. I'm assuming a lot of these journalists are writing up these articles in about 10 minutes on the subway.

    January 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ChitownSciGuy

    Who edits this? or is this even edited at all? The galaxy is 300,000 miles across? what is the writer smoking?? does cnn not have copy editors anymore??

    January 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BT1

    (In the voice of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz)

    A long time ago . . .
    In a galaxy . . . well, not really all that far away. . .

    January 11, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. fred

    ok-you guys at CNNhave now fixed the error on the size of this thing. Now-and I know this is tough-where is it? What colliding Galaxies, when did all this happen, is it headed this (or any other way). I am sure that you can see that without this sort of info-just telling your readers that there is a big cloud of oxygen is space is a little meaningless. btw-Oxygen? How much free floating oxygen is there in deep sapce? Please

    January 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      Actually if you were to do a little research you would find out that there is quite a bit of "free floating" oxygen in space. There is enough "free floating" oxygen in the Orion Nebula Cluster to completely replentish our atmosphere more than a million times over. Just because you can't breathe in extra-atmospheric space, doesn't mean there isn't oxygen.

      January 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BT1

    3:02 ET
    They fixed it. Only took five light years. . .I mean hours.

    January 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MassiveMarbles

    I understand what was written and what the writer attempted to write; however, the flaw here is what people perceive to be your comparisons. Note how mostly everyone associates the term 'light years' which the writer uses to the word 'miles', while the word 'miles' isn't even in the story. And as we all know that the two ARE NOT the same!

    The phenomenon is interesting but I'm sure insignificant against the vastness of the entire outer space tapestry.


    January 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      Before you go beating on the posters, the article ORIGINALLY stated 300,000 miles and was only corrected a little while ago.

      January 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin Bieber

      Yeah, silly...

      January 12, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Randy


    January 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MissChelice

    Wow, this sounds very promising.. (with sarcasm)!

    January 11, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    So our galaxy is only 300,000 miles long huh.
    Nice proof reading. Do you actually accept a paycheck for this garbage?"

    You do realize a light year doesn't equate to a mile right?

    January 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      Again, before beating on the posters the original article states 300,000 years instead of 300,000 light years. As a matter of fact the entire article has been re-written with more accuracies, and better information after being posted for several hours with inacuracies and laughable editing. The humor still sucks though.

      January 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • GuerillaGorilla

      erm... original article stated miles instead of light years... I need a proofreader myself. lol

      January 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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