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Image of the Day: The Ghost Snake of the Milky Way


A cosmic snake appears to slither across the plane of our Milky Way galaxy in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The snake-like object  located about 11,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius is actually the core of a thick, sooty cloud large enough to swallow dozens of solar systems and may be harboring beastly stars in the process of forming. 

"The snake is an ideal place to hunt for massive forming stars as they have not had time to heat up and destroy the cloud they are born in," said Dr. Sean Carey, of NASA's Spitzer Science Center. 

Spitzer was able to spot the sinuous cloud using its heat-seeking infrared vision. The object is hiding in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy, invisible to optical telescopes. Because its heat, or infrared light, can sneak through the dust, it first showed up in infrared images from past missions. The cloud is so thick with dust that if you were to somehow transport yourself into the middle of it, you would see nothing but black, not even a star in the sky.

Spitzer's new view of the snake provides the best view of what lurks inside. The yellow and orange spots located on and around it are massive stars just beginning to take shape. The bright red spot located on its belly is a monstrous stellar embryo, with about 20 to 50 times the mass of our sun. 

Astronomers say these observations will ultimately help them better understand how massive stars form. By studying the clustering and range of masses of the stellar embryos, they hope to determine if the stars were born in the same way that our low-mass sun was formed -- out of a collapsing cloud of gas and dust -- or by another mechanism in which the environment plays a larger role. 



Spitzer was able to spot the sinuous cloud using its heat-seeking infrared vision. The object is hiding in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy

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But what is the Snake itself a product of?

You might be interested to know that this image has sparked quite a bit of attention among Doctor Who fans because it is identical to a mysterious Crack in the universe that has been a focal point of the series this season.

It's the crack in time from Doctor Who :|

BBC is amazing in promoting its shows :P

You're looking at a field of energy that spills from mysterious cracks in the fabric of time and space caused by an unidentified explosion that originates from 26th June, 2010.

It's where two parts of space and time that should never have touched have been forced together.

The cracks range in size from tiny to as big as the sky. Some connect to other worlds, while others only to silence, and the end of all things.

Regardless of the size, and what is on the other side, all cracks appear to be of the same shape and orientation.

*gets the subwave network together* Time to phone the Doctor!June 26, 2010 is not far away!

*gets the subwave network together* Time to phone the Doctor!June 26, 2010 is not far away!

Now, you've all got to listen very carefully.

11,000 light-years away is quite a long way away, isn't it? I forget...

Point being, it might seem like a long way away, but things aren't quite that simple. It's hard to explain, but this 'snake' or 'crack' or whatever you want to call it, has to be watched. Somebody has to keep an eye on that thing because if you don't, then things could go very wrong, very fast.

Don't worry though, I have got a plan...Sort of. I'm still working out the details, but they tend to come to me.

So keep watching out there, and whatever you do, whatever happens, don't forget June 26, 2010.

Oh please, give it a rest. Even I know that 11,000 light years away is quite a long way away. This 'crack' is probably just a coincidence, I mean, it looks nothing like the other one's we've seen. Alright, it has a slightly similar shape but that's where that ends. Sorry to burst your little bubble here, but it really is nothing like it, so you can stop all of the 'if you don't look at the sky the world's gonna end' business. Honestly, sometimes I think you just enjoy the drama.

You've seen enough to know that things are never that simple, I stand by what I said. Until we know exactly what we're dealing with then you've got to take this seriously.

We all do.

Alright, alright, you've made your point. But can we please go somewhere nice in the meantime?


Doctor who might just use things off the internet like this.it is identical, ( which is completely odd) but it doesn't mean doomsday. (maybe) :?

Bad Wolf.

Dr Who my arse. That's a childrens' show. This a hole cut by a Klingon Bird of Prey.

Like perhaps this is going to affect ourselves and the Universe is only as old as the last AmeriKKKan election.

A Bird of Prey does not have enough power.... a Death Star colliding with a Time Anomaly (the one that the ARC are investigating) just might do that.

I seen that kind of crack in a dream once, and it was months before doctor who started in 2010, maybe this means something, but what?

I dont understand why you guys think this is a hole in the universe... Its a cloud..Its says so...right there..

Doctor! It's the Time Crack!

The Doctor is real, but not in this universe.

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