Giant Green Blobs Found in Space!

Green Blobs in Space

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently imaged these giant green blobs in the vicinity of the spiral galaxy IC 2497.  This kind of oddity, which is in the constellation Leo Minor, is not well understood and remains unclassified.

The green blobs havebeen named Hanny’s Voorwerp.  So not only is the object itself weird, so is the name!  Actually, voorwerp is the dutch word for object. 

There is a heck of a lot going on with the Voorwerp.  The blob itself is a long filament of gas that is wrapped around the galaxy IC 2497.  It is lit up from a beam of light emanating from a quasar at the center of the galaxy.  The yellow-orange area is a grouping of stars that are a few thousand light years wide.  The green color of the object is caused by glowing oxygen.

It is estimated that the stars in the Voorwerp are only a couple of million years old.  The Voorwerp itself is the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy and lies about 650 million light years from Earth.  It was discovered in 2007 by a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel.  She was participating in the Galaxy Zoo project as an amateur volunteer.

Hubble imaged this object using the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, W. Keel (University of Alabama), and the Galaxy Zoo Team

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