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. spottingLies

    What a terrible headline. The Hubble telescope did NOT find this object. In 2007, Dutch secondary school biology teacher Hanny van Arkel discovered the object. Hubble just recently took a shot of it.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jean-Luc

    Would we really have to be worried if a cloud of what seems to be oxygen collided with your galaxy? o_0

    January 11, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  3. David B

    Hey, I know this is just a little science story...but did it have to be written on a fifth grade level? And what's with the jokey summation?

    Idea: pretend you're real journalists.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  4. Knucklehead61

    Jeez, people. Light year, mile, what difference does it make? Not like you can get there, anyway.

    Oh yeah, same people just figured out the Earth is 5000 years old.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. rich

    we have finally found the remains of the Death Star! Star Wars is a true story!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. Knucklehead61

    Looks like a "Singularity" to me. Better keep an eye on it. I figure the USS Enterprise is going to come flying out of it any minute.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. VitruvianMn

    300,000 mile wide milky way galaxy? The guy who wrote this should reconsider writing about science. Probably.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. Emil

    Science can discover something like this, but but deny there is a real and Mighty God of this Universe, Who Created it. And one of the biggest lies is the distance lie. A man-made instrument that can measure space, I think science and scientists are trillion of light years away from reality and "Hubble" is just starting to catch up with them, globs-blobs, and empty space and gases is what they have in that box on top of their shoulders.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Sometimes I wonder if the news media's journalist see science as an obstacle they must get passed before they're invited into the hard news club. There are so many mistakes in fact that then gives people who are barely interested in the sciences inaccurate information. Maybe science articles don't deserve competent editing, because that's what it looks like to me, and this article is a case on point.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. natashia rousseau

    yall r hillarious!!!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    This thing is 3,900,000,000,000,000 miles from earth or equal to our national debt in dollars in a few years.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  12. Big D

    Didn't even mention the young lady (not even an astronomer) who actually discovered it on GalaxyZoo. Interesting object but how it was discovered is even more interesting.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lariatsam

    The "gaping hole in Hanny's Voorwerp" is actually "VGER" on rendezvous with home planet, Earth!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. KDM

    wow green gas! that will satisfy the green party and the republicans at the same time!! Drill Baby Drill!!

    January 11, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. killallthewhiteman

    The article on yahoo is more informative.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
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