There’s a Giant Cloud on a Collision Course With the Milky Way

Mark your epochal calendars, because 30 million years from now, a massive billow of gas called Smith’s Cloud is due to crash into the Milky Way, according to a video released on Friday by NASA.

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

First discovered in 1963 by radio astronomer Gail Smith, the cloud measures an astonishing 11,000 light years in length by 2,500 light years in width, and it is traveling towards our galaxy at the breakneck pace of 700,000 miles per hour.

Scientists think that this spectral formation, made mostly from hydrogen gas, was kicked out of the Milky Way about 70 million years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed Earth. This conclusion is based on precision observations by instruments like the Hubble Space Telescope, which revealed that the cloud appears to be enriched with traces of heavier elements like sulfur gas at around the same concentrations as the outer galactic disk.

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