Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 8 years ago

What are the swirls of light we see in space?

Are they our solar system? I dunno. Here are some pics. See if you can explain them.

http://urbantitan.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/s...

http://cache.io9.com/assets/images/8/2011/01/milky...

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  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    'Swirls' are other Galaxies.

    'Nebulous clouds' are probably gas clouds in our own Galaxy.

    Neither is in our solar system.

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  • 8 years ago

    You provided two links, and they are two quite different objects.

    The first appears to be an entire collection of planetary nebulae, each of which is the result of a very large star shedding its outer layers into the surrounding space. I am not familiar with this particular image, but a quick search indicates that it is a nebula that is in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small neighboring satellite galaxy to our own Milky Way. Such nebulae are common within galaxies, although this one is distant enough that it probably cannot be readily seen with an amateur telescope - at least not at this level of detail. You can see a similar object, just using binoculars, by looking closely at the second "star" in the sword of Orion. This is easily visible tonight.

    The second link is not a photograph, but an artist's concept of our own galaxy: the Milky Way. This image shows the characteristic spiral structure that is evident in a great number of these gigantic objects. There are billions of spiral galaxies, and many of them can easily be seen using even a small amateur telescope.

    The relationship between these two images is that the nebula is a relatively small part of a galaxy. The nebula is big; the galaxy is much bigger.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    The first one is a nebula, the second is a spiral galaxy, based on the name of the file I would guess it is an artistic rendition of the Milky Way. We can not take a picture of the Milky Way like that, since we are inside it.

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