An Interstellar Filament Located Between Two Magellanic Clouds

Posted: Sep 9 2015, 5:53am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

An Interstellar Filament Located Between Two Magellanic Clouds
ESA and the Planck Collaboration
  • The Magellanic Clouds are our Nearest Cosmic Cousins

The two Magellanic Clouds caught on film by the ESA’s Planck Satellite are our galaxy’s nearest cosmic cousins.

They lie very close to our Milky Way. The two Magellanic Clouds are a sight to behold in the picture captured by the satellite. The larger one is at a distance of 160,000 light years from us. The smaller one is 200,000 light years away.

The former can be seen as a huge red and orange globule towards the center of the pic. And the latter is tripartite in nature and exists in the lower left corner. These giant cloud systems are between ten and seven billion times as massive as our hydrogen-helium powered star, the sun.

The two clouds are actually small galaxies. Our Milky Way or the nearest Andromeda Galaxy are way larger in comparison. It was only in the 16th century that the Magellanic Clouds were detected by European astronomers.

But ancient civilizations knew about them well in advance. And even Islamic astronomers had knowledge about these structures in outer space. The Planck Satellite was observing the cosmic background radiation when it caught an image of the Magellanic Clouds.

The Planck Satellite detected the dust and everything else between it and the echoes of the birth of the universe. The frequencies that got picked up on its radar were the most sensitive known to mankind.

Some things get in the way and have to be removed from detection before the treasures of outer space can be captured in the form of images. The stars, the galaxies and the stellar dust are all part of the big picture.

Especially, the interstellar dust is detected in the form of brilliant colors such as red, orange and yellow. These hues form a cluster in the southern hemisphere skyline. The constellation of which they are a part is termed Chameleon.

The picture caught by the ESA Planck Satellite is so beautiful that it defies the imagination. It just goes to show you that science can be a source of mystic beauty that is equal to the knowledge and practice of the great visionaries.

A separate offshoot may be seen in the photograph as it makes its way towards the opposing side. This is magic in the making. The filament of sorts is actually just 300 light years away from our Milky Way.

And it is in synch with the magnetic field of this galaxy. Scientists will expand their information base thanks to the new data provided by this picture of such awesome spatial phenomena.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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