November 4, 2003
Using the Green Bank Telescope, a cross-section of the Milky Way Galaxy's diffuse halo of hydrogen gas has been produced. This image confirms the presence of discrete hydrogen clouds in the halo, and could help astronomers understand the origin and evoulution of the rarefied atmosphere that surrounds our Galaxy. The hydrogen in the lower halo, the transition zone between the Milky Way and intergalactic space, is very clumpy. This latest data confirm these results and show that instead of trailing away smoothly from the Galactic plane, a significant fraction of the hydrogen gas in the halo is concentrated in discrete clouds. There are even some filaments.
Topics: Technology Internet, Galactic astronomy, Spiral galaxies, Local Group, hydrogen gas, Environment, Halo, Galaxy formation and evolution, Galaxy, Milky Way