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. Kitty

    How about the 4th horseman of the Apocalypse, Death?

    January 12, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. Howie

    Probably and May are words this article has to use because the truth is they are just guessing about the size, what it is made of, what caused it, and what the hole is... This isn't science it's big kids with even bigger imaginations looking at a picture of something they are not sure about.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyn

      Your post simply shows how ignorant you are concerning the science involved. If you educated yourself a bit you'd find that determining the object's size, distance, composition, etc. are things that we don't "guess" at. We have the tools and the understanding to determine these things from our observations. Instead of rejecting things that you don't understand, try instead to educate yourself and you'll find that you'll understand so much more.

      January 18, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Roland

    It could probably be a birth of new galaxy.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brent

    Another 100 million years from now we will realize that we are all just micro-organisms which make up some dude named God.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fran

    I'm pretty sure I see Jesus' image

    January 12, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. doodle man

    Good good excellent excellent

    January 12, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jim

    It's the hand of god.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thomas

    The writer of this article was more than just a little loose with their estimates of an impact on Earth. Something that is 650 million light years away, is not only 650 million years away traveling at the speed of light, but it is it is also very likely to be, if not definately, moving away from us do the accelerating expansion of the universe. Probably not a threat should be replaced with a physical impossibility of a threat based on our current knowledge of space, time, and physics.

    January 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sunny girl

    Did anyone ever think that "GOD" is a thought form? And as far as the history book the "Bible", please. How many times has history books been proven miss written. So I guess you have to ask yourself, who came first? Did God create us or did we create God?

    January 14, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. sheri

    This is the best camera ever, I want one!!! It just makes me believe there's still life somewhere else out in all that space. Lets find them, maybe they can show us a thing or two about getting along in a peaceful environment.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. Shaz

    Probably some alien flipping us off.

    January 14, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pat Lundgren


    January 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. H. B.

    Free oxygen is very uncommon in space. It is a common element, but is usually bound up with other elements. The free kind tends to be a product of life processes. I'm sure the scientists are mulling over how so MUCH oxygen, glowing or not, got into such close proximity with itself. They're bound to be as curious as I am about how that happened.


    January 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tim

    looks like Klingons to me

    January 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |

    "There are more things in heaven and earth than were ever dreamed of in your philosophies."

    William Shaksepare

    January 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
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