Well, I’ll tell you.  It’s Dutch for “object.”  Why am I writing about objects today?  Because a CNN blogger totally got the facts wrong on a recently Hubble photographed object named “Hanny’s Voorwwerp.” (hopefully the facts have been updated by now?) 

Here’s the real skinny: 

  • It’s much closer to the size of the Milky Way (100K Light Years across) than the cited 300,000 miles (which is just over the distance from Earth to the Moon). 
  • There’s almost zero chance of it bumping into our galaxy (as suggested).  It’s over 650 MILLION light years away.  By comparison, the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way, Andromeda is only 2.5 Million light years away and IS forecast to impact the Milky Way – 4.5 Billion years in the future (that’s the current estimate of Earth’s age). By that time, the Sun will have run out of fuel and become a white dwarf (after expanding to a Red Giant), and Earth will have been long uninhabitable.
  • It was discovered by an amateur scientist.  A Dutch teacher (Hanny van Arkel) participating in the “Galaxy Zoo” project.  
  • The green glow is only a part of a very large gas streamer that is being illuminated by an unknown source. The green portion is about 100K light-years in diameter, but the entire streamer is appx. 300K light years in length.  The “hole” is appx. 20K light years wide.  

Anyways, hope all is going well for you this new year. Enjoy!