Release 255 of 1,056
Fast Falling Clouds Fuel Milky Way Star Formation
Release date: Aug 25, 2011 3:00 PM (EDT)

The long-term forecast for the Milky Way is cloudy with gaseous rain. A study by Nicolas Lehner and Christopher Howk of the University of

Notre Dame concludes that massive clouds of ionized gas are raining down

from our galaxy's halo and intergalactic space and will continue

to provide fuel for the Milky Way to keep forming stars. Using the Hubble Space Telescope's Cosmic Origins Spectrograph they measured for the first time the distances to huge, fast-moving clouds of ionized gas previously seen covering a large fraction of the sky.

Release ID: STScI-2011-26
Release image
Large-Scale Flows in the Milky Way Halo
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Credits

Credit: NASA, ESA, and N. Lehner and C. Howk (University of Notre Dame)