Dutch Teacher Discovers Green 'Space Ghost'
Accidental find is hot gas ball reflecting far-off galactic light
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 10, 2008 2:14 PM CDT
A Dutch teacher discovered a mysterious green ball in the cosmos.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A Dutch schoolteacher earned her moment in the sun by discovering a cosmic ball of gas some have labeled a space “ghost,” NPR reports. Hanny van Arkel, 25, was working as a volunteer with a galaxy-classifying website when she came upon what “looked like a regular galaxy but much bluer.” Experts say it consists of hot gas that is perhaps reflecting the light of a distant galaxy.

More specifically, the light may come from a quasar, “the bright, stormy center of a distant galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole.” We can no longer see the quasar itself, but its light is still flying around, experts say, creating the “light echo” that’s been nicknamed “Hanny’s Voorwerp.” Says van Arkel of her 15 minutes: “I've had emails from people I haven't spoken to ever in my life. It’s fun.”