I learned about the Smith Cloud today via the video below from NASA. It’s a gas cloud the mass of about 2 million Suns (not much astronomically), moving at a high velocity of about 700,000 miles per hour. It’s one of many circling the Milky Way, but one that is coming back to collide with the Milky Way. When it does, it’ll just kind of merge in and cause a lot of new stars to form from all the gas and energy it carries, not much more. Boring, with a slightly mysterious history likely unraveled, unless you look at it in a different way with a scientifically apt metaphor…
Scientist weren’t sure for a while if the Smith Cloud was once part of the Milky Way that got ejected from its rotation, or if it were an object in space that got caught in the Milky Way’s gravitation pull as the Milky Way crossed paths with it. From analysis, it seems the first theory is correct with chemical element composition of the Smith Cloud being similar to that of the Milky Way in some elements, like sulphur. That would be the element that makes eggs and farts stinky to us, when combined with other elements to make certain gasses.
So it would seem that the Smith Cloud was just a fart let out by our Milky Way once upon a time. That gas had not gone anywhere far like our farts don’t if we don’t move around. Inevitably, it reaches our nose, where reactions with our olfactory picks it up and causes a reaction in us. Little bursts from the interaction that ignites things very noticeable to us, not unlike stars igniting and sparking from reactions of the cloud with the Milky Way, metaphorically.
The Milky Way is basically gonna be getting to smell one of its farts in about 30 million years, metaphorically. 🙂