Astronomers have witnessed a huge burst of wind in space for the first time, after detecting a gas cloud that extends hundreds of thousands of light-years from a galaxy.
It marks the first direct evidence that galactic winds feed the circumgalactic medium (the veil of gas that surrounds galaxies as they float around the universe). The gas cloud was spotted lingering around the galaxy SDSS J211824.06+001729.4 and nicknamed Makani, appropriately named after the Hawaiian for ‘wind.’
Makani is actually the remnant of two galaxies that collided and subsequently stabilized. The late-stage merger was photographed by the Keck Cosmic Web Imager, and further data was provided by the Hubble Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).