Most Luminous Galaxy In Universe Is Ripping Itself Apart Due To Extreme Turbulence

Posted: Jan 15 2016, 7:55pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 15 2016, 8:18pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Universe's Most Luminous Galaxy Is Ripping Apart Due to Extreme Turbulence
Artistic conception of galaxy called W2246-0526, the most luminous galaxy known. Credit:NRAO/AUI/NSF; Dana Berry / SkyWorks; ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)

W2246-0526, the most luminous galaxy in the universe, might end up shedding its entire star producing gas

The most luminous galaxy in the universe is going through a devastating transformation. 

A team of Chilean scientists have found that the galaxy, called W2246-0526, is violently turbulant. It is o chaotic that it is ripping itself apart. 

The far-off galaxy is 12.4 billion light years away from the Earth and is the brightest among all the galaxies discovered yet. The galaxy is possibly having a supermassive black hole at its center which is totally obscured by a thick cloud of dust and is voraciously feeding on nearby gas. The black hole produces so much energy that it shakes up the entire gas of the universe.

"It is like a pot of boiling water being heated up by a nuclear reactor in the center.” Tanio Diaz-Santos of the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago and lead author of the study said.

A photo posted by NASA (@nasa) on

For the first time researchers, researchers have used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe the actual motion of gas and dust between the stars of the galaxy. Researchers have found that the galaxy is extremely turbulent and if this pattern continues, it will end up ejecting its entire star forming gas and dust it contains - a phenomenon never observed in an object of this kind before.

"This galaxy is tearing itself apart," said Roberto Assef, astronomer with the Universidad Diego Portales and leader of the observing team ALMA in Chile. "The momentum and energy of the particles of light deposited in the gas are so great that they are pushing the gas out in all directions."

The supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy is likely causing the turbulence. As the gravitational pull of the black hole attracts surrounding gas and other matter, an incredibly energetic disk of gas begin to form. This accretion disk produces intense brightness due to the fraction and makes galaxy shine like 350 trillion suns together. 

“We suspected that this galaxy was in a transformative stage of its life because of the enormous amount of infrared energy discovered with WISE. Now ALMA has shown us that the raging furnace in this galaxy is making the pot boil over,” said Peter Eisenhardt from WISE, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 

“The boiling gas in not in the accretion disk. The whole galaxy is being disturbed.”

The galaxy belongs to a very rare and unusual class of objects called Hot, Dust-Obscured Galaxies or Hot DOGs. Only 1 out of every 3,000 galaxies observed by WISE are from this category. 

Roberto Assef said.“A likely finale will be that the galaxy will blow out all of the gas and dust that is surrounding it and we would see the accretion disk without its dust cover – what we call a quasar.”

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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