The Smith Cloud

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Here is a  composite image showing the size and location of the Smith Cloud on the sky, note the scale size of the full moon. The cloud appears in false-color in this image as observed  by the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. While the cloud was observed in radio wavelengths, the visible-light image of the background star field shows the cloud’s location in the direction of the constellation Aquila.
Credits: Saxton/Lockman/NRAO/AUI/NSF/Mellinger
From NASA:

Though hundreds of enormous, high-velocity gas clouds whiz around the outskirts of our galaxy, this so-called “Smith Cloud” is unique because its trajectory is well known. New Hubble observations suggest it was launched from the outer regions of the galactic disk, around 70 million years ago. The cloud was discovered in the early 1960s by doctoral astronomy student Gail Smith, who detected the radio waves emitted by its hydrogen.

The cloud is on a return collision course and is expected to plow into the Milky Way’s disk in about 30 million years. When it does, astronomers believe it will ignite a spectacular burst of star formation, perhaps providing enough gas to make 2 million suns.

Read and see more here.

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