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Huge Hydrogen Cloud Will Hit Milky Way

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the doomsday-asteroids-werent-enough dept.

Space 220

diewlasing points us to a story about a hydrogen cloud, eleven thousand light-years long, which will collide with the Milky Way in a devastating crossfire of shock waves and star formation...in 20-40 million years. Mark your calendars. At least it will give us something to watch while we're waiting for Andromeda to hit us in a few billion years. Hopefully, it will look at least this cool. "The detailed GBT study dramatically changed the astronomers' understanding of the cloud. Its velocity shows that it is falling into the Milky Way, not leaving it, and the new data show that it is plowing up Milky Way gas before it as it falls. 'Its shape, somewhat similar to that of a comet, indicates that it's already hitting gas in our Galaxy's outskirts,' Lockman said. 'It is also feeling a tidal force from the gravity of the Milky Way and may be in the process of being torn apart. Our Galaxy will get a rain of gas from this cloud, then in about 20 to 40 million years, the cloud's core will smash into the Milky Way's plane,' Lockman explained."

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Hindenstromics (2, Funny)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026004)

Oh the hugegalaxy!

Re:Hindenstromics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026188)

I for one welcome our new single protoned overlords.

creators' big flash due to occur any time now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026024)

no need to wait 10.000 years/centuries for things to improve. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Shot in the Dark (5, Interesting)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026044)

It seems to me that something with enough gas to create 1M stars akin to the Sun might have a noticeable impact on the revolutionary nature of the galaxy. Nothing astounding, probably akin to the added wobble of the Earth after the giant 2004 earthquake (the one that caused the tsunami) but it's probably something that, on the off chance we or some other life form is around, would be really awesome to observe. Also, assuming we don't have all the answers yet, seeing how the galaxy responds to such a sudden, massive change compared to our models could really tell us exactly how much mass there is, how it's distributed, etc.

Re:Shot in the Dark (1)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026552)

well the only way we'll have survived that long is if we get off this planet, and I'm assuming that if we master the technology to do that, we'll have any of the answers related to that problem.

Re:Shot in the Dark (1)

Laguerre (1198383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027020)

Actually, since the galaxy has about 100 billion stars, a gas cloud with enough gas to create 1 million stars only has about 0.001% the mass of the galaxy. Since it's not very dense either (nebulous cloud), the effect of it colliding with the milky way will be like a bug colliding with your windshield.

Re:Shot in the Dark (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027098)

Since it's not very dense either (nebulous cloud), the effect of it colliding with the milky way will be like a bug colliding with your windshield.
That's kind of ambiguous. Are we the windshield, or the bug?

Re:Shot in the Dark (4, Funny)

ppanon (16583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027768)

Both. It's a windshield made of bugs.

Re:Shot in the Dark (1, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027150)

Don't forget to multiply! It's actually 0.01% so it's more akin to throwing a baby at an 18-wheeler. Not a huge effect, but when it's traveling fast it might dent a small portion of it, which is all we would need, really.

However, I was more referencing the ability of the cloud to interact with everything else going on. A baby/bug will either bounce or splat against a truck/car but the gas can and will interact with nearby stars, solar systems, etc. THAT's what would be cool to measure - aside from the fact that it'd be very complex and unpredictable (although, by then, who knows) any minute deviation could give an indication of the amount of dark matter (not) floating around, for example.

Re:Shot in the Dark (2, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027554)

What's interesting is that apparently they don't know where it came from, and it's supposedly strange to just have a relatively small cloud of hydrogen coming towards us from a totally empty area of space.

Re:Shot in the Dark (2, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027722)

What's interesting is that apparently they don't know where it came from, and it's supposedly strange to just have a relatively small cloud of hydrogen coming towards us from a totally empty area of space.
God, Cthulu, and the FSM went to a Mexican place for lunch.

Re:Shot in the Dark (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027624)

It seems to me that something with enough gas to create 1M stars akin to the Sun might have a noticeable impact on the revolutionary nature of the galaxy. Nothing astounding, probably akin to the added wobble of the Earth after the giant 2004 earthquake

Probably not so much. The difference is that the Earth is a rigid object, while the galaxy is a swirling pile of unconnected particles. It would take a very long time for tidal locking to redistribute the energy.

Oh? Only 40 million years? (1)

benburned (1091769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026052)

Wonderful! I can just hardly wait to see this happen

Re:Oh? Only 40 million years? (1)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026724)

Actually I wish I would get as chance to see it the event should be beautiful and very long lived. As far as affecting us it's a non event it hits a different arm of the Galaxy. If it does cause super nova there'll be some neutrino events but if there's no civilization left no one will notice. Anything alive will see some pretty lights but I'm guessing other than novas you'd need a telescope to appreciate it.

Re:Oh? Only 40 million years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027756)

Well only 20-40 million years. I mean, how could you expect to pin this down to a mere million year time period?

Shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026080)

I think there's a chance of us discovering intelligent life in the Andromeda galaxy, something which the milky way has thus far lacked. Perhaps it's fortunate that the embarrassment known as "humanity" will be long gone by then.

Re:Shame (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026136)

Well, the milky way does have intelligent life. Their intelligence can be seen by the fact that they didn't get in contact with us.

You sure it's intelligence? (2, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027878)

You sure it's intelligence? I can think of a more high-school scenario there. I mean, picture two fashionable grey-alien girls after a cow-tipping tour to Earth.

"Oh, like, those Sol guys are, like, soo nerdy, always with their, like, radio-teles-wossnames and their gizmos. And, like, God, they just can't take a hint when they're, like, not wanted. You'd think, like, after they got ignored a dozen times, they'd, like, quit trying to get our attention already. I mean, gah, gag me with a spoon, like I'd ever want to be seen talking to some geek who's, like, fiddling knobs all day. Those SETI guys should, like, so get a _life_. I mean, like, geesh, like they'll ever get laid if they're, like, fiddling with that telescope all day. And, geesh, what's with those _clothes_? Fer crying out loud, those suits are sooo, like, last _millenium_. And have you seen those haircuts? Like, gag me with a spoon. They should, like, take a hint from those guys from Rigel. Mmm, those are soo dreamy. 'Course, I bet they don't want to be seen, like, nursing a bunch of nerds either."

Well, it's a possibility ;)

This FP 7or GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026116)

I'll have offended Darren Reed, whic_4 standards should in time. For all common knowledge windows, SUN or Users. BSD/OS

I don't think it means what you think it means... (5, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026118)

Does anyone else have a problem with the word "smashing" to describe the contact of two bits of not-quite-vacuum passing through each other?

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (5, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026180)

Does anyone else have a problem with the word "smashing" to describe the contact of two bits of not-quite-vacuum passing through each other?

You mean, like a stone smashing into a window? You don't actually think the electrons or atomic nuclei of the stone actually come into contact with the electrons or atomic nuclei of the window, do you?

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026458)

It's not a matter of coming into contact (at the smallest level, every elementary particle may well be mathematical points), but of getting close enough for an interaction force to be produced.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (2, Insightful)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026936)

I'm pretty sure that was exactly his point. He's saying that an interaction force would be produced when this astronomical event occurs, therefore the word "smashing" would apply just as much as it applies when dealing with rocks and windows.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027378)

In the case of rocks and windows the little neighborhoods of interaction around each particle overlap to cover the whole object. In the case of this hydrogen "cloud" they don't, so there is no "smashing".

Gravitation is an interaction force (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027128)

close enough for an interaction force to be produced

There are four known forces in the universe, the weak and strong nuclear forces are short-range, while the electrical and gravitational forces are long-range, which means they will produce interactions everywhere in the universe.


Electrical forces come in two polarities, positive charges balance out negative charges, but gravitational forces always add up. There's no known way to block gravitation, therefore one can say that any two galaxies in the universe are "close enough for an interaction force to be produced", given enough time.


In the context of the article, I suppose "smashing" means close enough to produce significant distortion in the overall shape of the hydrogen gas cloud.

Re:Gravitation is an interaction force (1)

Satevis (1160823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027842)

There are four known forces in the universe, the weak and strong nuclear forces are short-range, while the electrical and gravitational forces are long-range, which means they will produce interactions everywhere in the universe.


What about dark energy? As I understand, it's more contentious than electromagnetism, gravity and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But, isn't it widely enough accepted these days to merit inclusion in that list of the known forces of the universe? I'm really asking, here. I'm curious. Does anyone know if dark energy is generally agreed to be one of the fundamental forces of the universe these days?

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028000)

I'm pretty sure we're talking about a description of what it looks like, not the technical details of the actual physics involved -- no need to show off your knowledge of sub-atomic theory.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (4, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026206)

It's gas! It's deadly! Protect yourself! Protect your kids!

I bet quite a number of folks will stock up on gas masks when they'll hear these news...

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026476)

Gas masks? Just hope no one lights a match when that thing's passing through.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (0, Redundant)

ijakings (982830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026658)

The same can be true of other large Gaseous bodies. The last time someone lit a match when Steve Ballmer was in the room caused an explosion that is thought to have left at least 8 people with injuries. It appears the explosion caused a stockpile of chairs to be hurled at the developers, at least thats what the "official" Microsoft press release said.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (1)

dummondwhu (225225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026646)

Better get a roll of duct tape and some plastic too.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (3, Funny)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026840)

It's gas! It's deadly! Protect yourself! Protect your kids!

Oh come on. By now you should know the only deadly gas is CO2.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026998)

Meh, If someone were to actually say that one would just remind them of beans =)

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027368)

What!?!? The content of this stuff in fresh air already varies between 0.03% (300 ppm) and 0.06% (600 ppm), and I'm running out of duct tape! :O

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (2, Interesting)

barakn (641218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026688)

Maybe people who don't understand what will happen will have a problem. Like the kind of people that think they will simply pass through each other. What really happens is that colliding clouds form a shock front and can heat up to millions of degrees C.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (2, Interesting)

greginnj (891863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027140)

I think the question that the original poster raised is best expressed as, "can someone give a description of this 'gas cloud' in terms of average units of mass per units of volume?" And perhaps adding in "what is the total volume of this cloud, if we consider the boundary of the cloud as the zone where local mass-per-unit-volume descends to 10% of average mass-per-unit-volume?" While your point may be technically correct, talking about a temperature of millions of degrees C for such a sparse cloud would mislead exactly the same people you're feeling superior towards, and they'll assume it's some sort of intergalactic lava flow.

Re:I don't think it means what you think it means. (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027388)

Two points:
(1) The sun's outer atmosphere is already in the millions of degrees.
(2) Our planet orbits within the sun's outer atmosphere.

Has this happened before - in "recent" times? (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028060)

Does anyone else have a problem with the word "smashing" to describe the contact of two bits of not-quite-vacuum passing through each other?

I don't. (At least not until I find out the relative masses and densities of the gas cloud vs. both the sections of the Milky Way it's about to encounter and the interstellar-gas components of them.)

The cloud may be a very hard vacuum - only slightly softer than the intergalactic space around it. But at galactic scales it still amounts to something quite dense and massive, which will not pass through the interstellar gas and solar winds of our galaxy without interacting repeatedly - let alone through the magnetic fields of the galaxy and the stars and planets that compose it.

I'd expect it to coalesce with the galaxy. That much mass at that much relative velocity will dump enormous amounts of energy into compression and heat at the shock front (similar to the graduation of "falling pebble" to something akin to a bomb when the pebble is falling at cometary speed, or a nuclear bomb when the "pebble" is also a couple miles in diameter). The energy density might be small, but over half the sky the radiant temperature can add up. Over that much matter, even at near-vacuum densities, even fusion events could be non-trivial - especially since magnetic effects could produce concentrations.

In gas clouds I'd expect it, at a minimum, to kick off a round of star formation. Also to sweep the gas and dust out from between existing stars and their planetary systems (and fractionate it), as dense accumulations are accellerated little while gas and dust encounter something of comparable density.

Even if the density is so low that the above effects aren't significant for planetary systems like ours, the passage of the cloud (especially the shock front) would wreak non-trivial havoc on the solar wind and magnetosphere - and thus planetary radiation shielding. Because the solar wind -> radiation shielding -> water condensation nucleation -> cloud cover -> solar heat reflection connection seems to be a major contributor to (geologically) short-term planetary temperature changes, the arrival and passage of the gas cloud could have a major effect on climate. (Even if its impact on the magnetosphere doesn't "stir up" some change in activity on the solar surface or modify the sunspot cycle.)

Which brings up the questions:
  - Have similar events occurred in the geologically "recent" past?
  - If so, do they have any relation to ice ages and interglacial periods or to mass extinction events?

Stock Market and Banks (1)

karvind (833059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026154)

Lets see how the stock market and banks respond to this tomorrow. I wonder if I should pull all my savings. Jokes apart, this is interesting that they can predict with reasonable accuracy at such large time and distance scales. Do classical newtonian theories work ?

Re:Stock Market and Banks (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026208)

Do classical newtonian theories work ?

Yes, provided neither the mass/energy densities nor the speeds involved are too large.

Of course, we will not really know how accurate that prediction is until in about 20 to 40 million years.

Re:Stock Market and Banks (3, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026556)

we will not really know how accurate that prediction is until in about 20 to 40 million years.
I'll put the kettle on, shall I?

Re:Stock Market and Banks (1)

Thexare Blademoon (1010891) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026564)

Of course, we will not really know how accurate that prediction is until in about 20 to 40 million years. We might know sooner, if they screwed up.

Statistically, they're very poor estimates. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026332)

They can't make that accurate of a prediction. Like the summary says, they're estimating 20 to 40 million years. That's basically 30 million plus/minus 10 million years. That is, they could be off by 33% both ways. In the field of statistics, we consider such estimates to be slightly better than useless.

Re:Statistically, they're very poor estimates. (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026720)

In the field of Astronomy, 10 million years is about as negligible as the plus/minus sign.

Re:Statistically, they're very poor estimates. (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026780)

This along with the whole "Its velocity shows that it is falling into the Milky Way, not leaving it."

That means that before this their data showed it was never going to collide. Which means that new data may show that is never going to collide, again. Nothing in the universe (or our observations of it) is quite as certain as the conclusions drawn here on /.

Re:Statistically, they're very poor estimates. (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026864)

Nothing in the universe (or our observations of it) is quite as certain as the conclusions drawn here on /.

Except for global warming. We may have doubts about everything else, but not global warming. 'Cause Al Gore says so, and he invented the Internet and was a vice president and therefore is well qualified to know everything there is to know about the climate. :)

Re:Statistically, they're very poor estimates. (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027876)

Except for global warming

And that uranium can be used to create a weapon of incredible power. And that a flood in New Orleans would be really bad. And that travel to the Moon is possible.

Each of those predictions had less consensus than human-aggravated Global Warming does today. Ten years ago, maybe, you could stand by your argument. Not in 2008.

Hydrogen economy (5, Funny)

ShadeOfBlue (851882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026162)

This is god's answer for all those people who said hydrogen was just an energy storage mechanism, not a solution to the energy crisis. Look, there's untold millions of barrels of the stuff headed our way!

Re:Hydrogen economy (2, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026238)

Why would we wait that long? Hey, there's a decent ball of the stuff just mere 8 light minutes away...

Alternative energy source? (1)

o517375 (314601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026256)

I have already invested in a company that plans to tap this hydrogen cloud for cheap alternative hydrogen fuel. :)

Re:Alternative energy source? (2, Funny)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026366)

ROI in about 40M years. Must be a profitable venture for your grand^(1M) -children (unless they win a Darwin award).

A warming thought (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026278)

that the hydrogen gas cloud exists - it means that there is material for a lot of new stars to form yet.

Time to bring out the spaceship and start spreading humanity into the galaxy. :-)

But when the cloud hits humanity will have disappeared and diverted in so many different forms that it's probably not interesting anymore. But is humanity at it's height right now? Inhumanity sure is!

On a geological timeframe humanity is insignificant, and on a universal scale we are merely a static crack. That we still are able to fathom the scale of the events to come is still rather cool!

Re:A warming thought (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027310)

If our descendants are still around in 40 million years, and especially if they have diversified into many different forms, I'm pretty confident things overall will be "interesting". If even one of those forms preserves and extends technological civilization, minor things such as gas clouds will also be completely safe for transhumanity.

fuel for the fire (2, Interesting)

macurmudgeon (900466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026292)

Hey, that's just the fuel we'll need for a Bussard ramjet [wikipedia.org]

Re:fuel for the fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027794)

One moon circles! Eyes in the dark!

Awesome! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026380)

Something to watch while were waiting Duke Nukem Forever

The Earth is 6000 years old (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026398)

Wait, since the Earth is only 6000 years old, how can this be possible?

/Seriously, how do religious people deal with this sort of thing?

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (1)

evwah (954864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026486)

"god made it that way"

makes perfect sense right? right??

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026668)

"makes perfect sense right? right??"

It's all part of his ineffable plan.

Hah, I bet you didn't see that one coming!

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026938)

God works in mysterious ways.

/textbook answer when facts can't be dealt with

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (1)

piltdownman84 (853358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027116)

Its actually 6012 years old, 2008 + 4004 BC ( Bishop Ushers's date of the world creation) stop spreading your heathen propaganda of that gods people only think the world is 6000 years old.

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (2, Insightful)

Cairnarvon (901868) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027136)

In general, they don't. Young Earthers aren't really known for their tendency to read science journals.
When they are confronted with it somehow, they either ignore it or pull out some variety of Last Thursdayism: the universe was created with all of the bits already in motion, and the light from distant stars already underway, and the fossils neatly buried. Rationalisations as to the reasons for this range from "test of faith" to "giving us something to look at in the night sky".

Remember: evidence against scientific hypotheses mean the science is wrong, but evidence against the Bible means the evidence is wrong.

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (0, Troll)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027402)

Wow, that came out of left field. So now we're doing 6000 year jokes and spewing religious insults with articles that don't even involve the earth's age. Interesting.

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027608)

Wow, that came out of left field. So now we're doing 6000 year jokes and spewing religious insults with articles that don't even involve the earth's age. Interesting.


Listen, you Methodist monster... it's people like you who make the Bhuddists weep when killing Catholics. I watch Will & Grace, just like everyone else, but that still doesn't make the facts of photosynthesis any more plausible than http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_unification_theory [wikipedia.org] but still you complain about things coming out of left field. Well, mister "oh why oh why am I a Sheik", Slashdot is much more than genetically induced baseball analogies. I happen to play right field, so you cannot say my rantings come from that place with which you previously referred to.

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22028054)

That's a troll, but the parent poster isn't? What are the mods smoking and, more importantly, where can I get some?

Re:The Earth is 6000 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027748)

It's very simple really. God created the cloud yesterday, because he knows that 30 million years from now people will commit a sin so grave that we cannot even imagine what it will be yet.

since we're now officially doomed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026400)

Why don't you admit that vi is better than emacs?

Facial (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22026406)

Now that's what I call a facial

Sorry about the cloud, guys (4, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026440)

You know what these high-fiber diets do to you.

Huge Gas Cloud Will Hit Milky Way (2, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026462)

God wishes to extend an apology to all inhabitants of the Milky Way for the after effects of the Chilli and Beans he consumed a while ago....

Hold your breathing... (1)

rasantel (845097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026578)

... after the cloud passes by. Hydrogen bad for health.

Reaches us in... (1)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026626)

Our Galaxy will get a rain of gas from this cloud, then in about 20 to 40 million years, the cloud's core will smash into the Milky Way's plane

Yes but when will we start noticing changes, it says it already reaches the outscrirt of the Milky Way's plane. By looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_way [wikipedia.org] we are not that far away as 20 million years.

Nice show, little chance of danger (1)

UnderCoverPenguin (1001627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026640)

Reading the article, it seems like it will be a nice show, but poses little chance of danger to Earth.

Just another on a growing list. (NEOs, Gamma Ray Bursts, Rouge Black Holes, Giant Hydrogen Clouds, etc.)

Re:Nice show, little chance of danger (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026956)

Reading the article, it seems like it will be a nice show, but poses little chance of danger to Earth. Just another on a growing list. (NEOs, Gamma Ray Bursts, Rouge Black Holes, Giant Hydrogen Clouds, etc.)

Wait, I'm confused. Are they red or black?

This is extremely important (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026678)

We need to start building ships and load them full of our most important people. Politicians, Lawyers and phone sanitizers. It would best not to wait until the hydrogen hits these people are far too important and should be saved now! The future of our civilization depends on it!..... We'll start building ships for the rest of us when they are safely on their way.

Re:This is extremely important (3, Funny)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026960)

Has anybody else noticed that the gas cloud looks a lot like a giant space goat?

Re:This is extremely important (1)

OldCrasher (254629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027386)

I think there is just time for a bath.

Re:This is extremely important (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027206)

Fully equipped with nasally-fitted fire, I hope.

Re:This is extremely important (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027580)

Don't forget about Hank Aaron and the magician, for goodness sake!

Re:This is extremely important (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027596)

A hoopy frood always knows where his towel is.

Hydrogen Fuel Economy (1)

Ryukotsusei (1164453) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026762)

At least we solved the problem of where to find our hydrogen.

hydrogen (1)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026842)

we better start building those damn hydrogen cars...

damnit, is within the next 20 million years good enough for you?

furlongs and donkey forthnights (4, Informative)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026966)

Here is just some useful unit conversations:
suns = 2E30 kg
light year = 1E16 meters
So this cloud has a density of 28 H2 molecules per liter.
That is pretty good vacuum. Actually about a million times better vacuum than "deep vacuum" in outer space here in our solar system, which again is much better vacuum than what is achievable here on earth.

So this "collision" will be quite soft in terms of energy density: One feather landing on an area the size of the earth.

Re:furlongs and donkey forthnights (2, Interesting)

RealUlli (1365) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027438)

Disclaimer: I didn't read the article.

So this "collision" will be quite soft in terms of energy density: One feather landing on an area the size of the earth.

Right at first, yes. But there will be collisions, there will be gravity interaction.

There also is the fact that (1000000 suns x 2e30 kg = 2e37 kg) of mass coming in at 150 miles/second contain a *lot* of energy...

Some of that mass will combine with the gas in milkyway and push some areas over the threshold into collapsing and forming stars.

Hope this helps ;-)

Ulli

P.S.: I might have gotten confused with the numbers for the suns...

Re:furlongs and donkey forthnights (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028038)

Using Kilograms and meters to describe astronomical masses and distances is like using nanometers to describe the distance between London and New York. It's pretty silly, isn't it?

This is why a few new conventions were adopted. A "Solar mass" is indeed a valid measurement of stars, nebulae, galaxies, and black holes. The only difference is the language used to describe such things in press releases, since the public doesn't actually know what a solar mass *is*.

There are also astronomical units, which is the mean distance between the sun and the earth throughout the year. Less useful in actual calculations are light years, but they're way easier to explain to the public than a parsec, which is the parallax of one second of arc. If you even knew what that meant [wikipedia.org] , then you are only a fraction of the way to understanding what that means in actual distance. So light years it is.

As someone else has noted, such a collision of a "gas cloud" (since you point out that it's a million times less dense than the vacuum in the solar system) with a galaxy has real and profound effects, and has been observed elsewhere in the universe.

However, you might also want to take note of something here. Notice how we have actually been able to detect this astoundingly sparse cloud of hydrogen? It doesn't even emit any light, but it does emit radio waves. This means that there are places in the universe - between galaxies and even galaxy clusters - where there is literally *nothing*. Zero H2 molecules per liter, or even cubic kilometer. So when someone comes up with some calculation of the mass of all the matter of say, the milky way or some nearby galaxy, you know that that accounting is correct. And just as importantly, when they say "There's not enough mass here for the galaxy to form cohesive structure under its own gravity - structure that is obviously there", you can believe that no matter how cold or hot that matter is, we know for certain that it's there, and how much it all weighs. Moreover, you can believe that when someone says "50% of the mass of the galaxies we've observed is missing".

MegaMaid (2, Funny)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026984)

If in 20-40 million years we're still having an energy problem I'll recommend breaking out MegaMaid. Let's make sure she's set to suck (not blow) so we can collect all of this hydrogen to use in our H2 powered vehicles :) I better get cracking on canning air to sell to the Spaceballs in payment for MegaMaids services.

Life that one down, Milky Way. (4, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22026988)

If there's one thing I find more embarrassing than gas trapped in my outskirts, it's when it causes a "devastating crossfire of shock waves and star formation." It's almost impossible to blame on the dog.

Don't expect to be invited to too many parties in the 20,002,007AD-40,002,007AD season.

Everyone ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027006)

... light a match as the cloud goes by.

Depressing... (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027094)

.. to read about cool stuff like this but realize I'll never be around to see it. I really wish sometimes I could just sit back and watch the whole universe and not have to worry about time.

Re:Depressing... (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027674)

Actually, it would be the opposite. Imagine you are immortal and will
never die. How would you prevent boredom? Besides seeding planets
with life, and observing the changes, what else would there be to do?

OK, *beside* waiting for Duke Nukem Forever to be released.

Re:Depressing... (1)

Linus the Turbonerd (1138133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027950)

Eh, when the people of 20,000,008 AD are reading through the Slashdot archives, and come across this item, I'm sure they'll travel back in time to retrieve you.

Just in time (1)

RevMike (632002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027170)

Just in time to fuel the "hydrogen economy"!

Discrimination? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027544)

The detailed GBT study dramatically changed the astronomers' understanding of the cloud.

No lesbian astronomers involved in the study, then?

The next big thing for the Global Warming Crowd (-1, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027548)

Forty million years huh? So then the Global Warming Crowd will start yammering about Galaxy Warming and blame the heat on the increased use of interstellar SUVs...

Re:The next big thing for the Global Warming Crowd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027804)

Forty million years huh? So then the Global Warming Crowd will start yammering about Galaxy Warming

Don't talk about millions of years, or they'll get indigestion. ;-)

The "Global Warming Crowd" prefers to look at the last few hundred thousand years only, as that period correlates with their current delusion to some extent, at least if one is happy to ignore cause and effect.

Making them face the paleoclimate record of the last several hundred million years doesn't go down too well, since the planet had over 10 times as much CO2 at the end of the Ordovician Period while it was in one of the deepest ice ages ever. So much for CO2-driven global warming. One day they'll realize that the Earth doesn't behave like a simple test tube of CO2 in a school experiment.

Fortunately their delusion has the useful side effect of making politicians clean up the planet a bit. Cranks can be useful. :P

Re:The next big thing for the Global Warming Crowd (1)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028018)

Fortunately their delusion has the useful side effect of making politicians clean up the planet a bit. Cranks can be useful. :P
That's actually why I don't care whether or not the climate change (something's definitely changing, no doubt about it) is caused or is affected by us. The end result is a cleaner planet for us and other organisms to live.

Re:The next big thing for the Global Warming Crowd (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#22028024)

Global Warming Crowd

aka "folks who believe in science"

will start yammering about Galaxy Warming

It's an interesting model... there's a lot of energy in these incoming hydrogen atoms, but adding extra gas between the stars-- especially if some coalesces-- could absorb some energy and keep it from the planet. It makes one wonder what effect it will have, and whether it's happened in the past. A few tens of millions of years is a flashbulb on the geologic time scale. (The amount of time between now and when it will "hit" is less than the amount of time since the dinosaurs.)

Let remind me again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22027666)

Thanks. Let me remind me again when it's 2-3 years away. I really don't have time to deal with this now.

hudrogen rush (3, Funny)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027704)

now it's time for the hydrogen economy!

20 million years? (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22027828)

Do you think by then we'll be able to make a black hole and shoot it in the direction of the cloud to suck it up before it hits us?

I realize there are probably other ways to keep it from hitting our solar system, but I'd like us all to agree right here and now that a black hole cannon is how we are going to deal with this, just so we're all on the same page and can get our act together in time.
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