NASA Studying Strange, Star-Creating Blob
Hanny's Voorwerp creating 'lonely' stars 'in the middle of nowhere'
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 11, 2011 8:43 AM CST
This image, taken April 12, 2010 by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows an unusual, ghostly green blob of gas appears to float near a normal-looking spiral galaxy.   (AP Photo/Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute)

(Newser) – The Hubble Telescope has turned its gaze to a mysterious glowing green blob that’s creating stars where stars shouldn’t normally form. Dubbed Hanny’s Voorwerp, after the Dutch elementary school teacher who first discovered it in 2007, the blob is a swirling mass of hydrogen gas, caused by a close encounter from two galaxies, astronomers tell the AP. It’s illuminated by a quasar lodged within one of those galaxies.

Parts of the Voorwerp are collapsing in on itself, creating enough pressure to create new stars far from any normal galaxy. These are “very lonely newborn stars … in the middle of nowhere,” says one astronomer. The blob was discovered by then-24-year-old Hanny van Arkel, during the Galaxy Zoo project, which let laypeople catalog new objects from star photos. At the time, “it actually looked like a blue smudge,” she says. “Now it looks like a dancing frog in the sky.”

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Jan 11, 2011 12:08 PM CST
We infer that exoplanets exist by looking for the changes of intensity in the light coming from stars -- and through the wobbles in the stars motion caused by the revolution around a common center of gravity. That really let's you know how well we can see in our own backyard. Stars are often found in groups, clusters, forming inside nebulae, etc.. Those objects and structures make up galaxies, galaxy clusters, super clusters, etc.. In the larger picture, that all makes up galaxy filaments. We're seeing energy, or lack thereof, radiating from extremely massive structures. It's like we're sitting on a small tropical island. We're analyzing the sea from a perspective. Our overall understanding of the cosmos is tantamount to very precise and complex speculation. We've tread in the shallows, taken a few dives, used our binoculars, etc.. We just have no idea how infinitely more complex our sea of a universe is. We're beginning to postulate that dark matter/energy, other dimensions, etc. have a giant influence on/in the universe. Findings and studies showing that the laws of physics may not be universal are starting to become more common. We're working with an extremely limited amount of data about the universe that we live in. We're seeing the light glistening off the tip of one of many icebergs. If the conditions hadn't been just right for this discovery, we'd still be fairly oblivious. Some of the earliest sub-atomic particles have been hypothesized to be up to billions of lights years across. I really feel that or estimates of the density of -- and what's actually in, and going on in -- the interstellar medium are way off because of the tiny bit of data that we can obtain at the present time. I can't even imagine how much the universe has changed and evolved since up to 13billion years has elapsed since some of the information we're getting began its journey. We're the equivalent of Gallileo. We're barely heading into Copernican territory. Who knows what discoveries will be made by the observatories of the future. Future Hubbles, future Einsteins and future space programs & projects: I envy the many things you will take for granted. The best theories of our time will pale in comparison to the discoveries that will come to light before your existences. That line of thinking isn't far different from the premise behind "Standing on the shoulders of giants." I hope that civilization continues so that these giants may continue materializing. Even if they are unable to bring peace to the past, I hope we are bringing peace to the future. ____ To many people, money is metaphorically considered the the root of all evil. I say that it is not money that is the problem: Greed makes up the largest portion of the culmination of issues that bring about that line of reasoning. In my eyes, the complexities of intolerance and human nature are a greater threat than the peaceful beliefs of many religious followers. Religion has brought many evils -- but religion is usually very loosely followed. The evils of religion are really just the manifestation of the things that I mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph. Religion will not cease to exist in our lifetime. I hope that history does not repeat itself with the furthering of informal persecution. If your initiative is to change the world, do it by spreading tolerance and education not by taking the easier path of indifference.
Jan 11, 2011 10:01 AM CST
This is the galaxy equivalent of accidentally getting pregnant and abandoning the baby.
Jan 11, 2011 9:30 AM CST
I'm just a lonely star, lonely and blue I was born from a mother Whose green and weird too....