Wednesday , June 16 2021

The brightest galaxy in the universe swallows its neighbors to feed

In 12 thousand 400 million light-years there is a pastan of huge dimensions. The lightest galaxy known to date, equivalent to 350 trillion suns, unhesitatingly causes three closer galaxies. The process, never seen before, was observed by Alma's radio telescope and its details are published in the latest issue of Science.

PASTAN is not expected

The galaxy W2246-0526 has been known by astronomers and has been given the title of the brightest in the universe. However, there were few details that existed because it was a galaxy hidden by dust or hot dag (the acronym of a dusty galaxy). As its name says, its glow can be seen only in infrared due to the large amount of dust surrounding it. Astronomers knew that this hot dog was surrounded by smaller galaxies, but not that it was associated with it.

"We did not look for inbalance and we did not expect it, but this detailed observation with the Alma Observatory made everything very clear," says Tennio de Santos, a postdoctoral researcher in the nucleus of astronomy. Diego Fortales and research director.

What Alma saw were giant filaments or bridges of gas absorbed by W2246-0526. Their source of food is three light galaxies converted to men. "We saw it in the near universe, but never in this distance," says Roberto Assaf, UDP's nuclear director and co-author of the study. No less, continues, because one feeds from multiple sources.

But W2246-0526 is not just a diner of this huge festival. At its center, a massive black hole is actively populated, which produces a disk of very energetic and very light gas. Disc light is absorbed by the gas and therefore astronomers "see" the glow of the galaxy only in infrared. According to the work, the diligence of the hole will also be quenched by the three current galaxies in the menu.

"It is possible that all the processes we observe are related," says Roberto Assaf. Some theories say that the fusion of galaxies will have some relationship with the black holes located in their centers, but for now there is not enough evidence to prove it. "This galaxy is very active and everything happens simultaneously," adds the scientist. You should keep watching.

What is swallowing the main galaxy is a kind of savings account, says the astrologer. The international group that participated in the study thinks the holiday will be enough to feed the black hole for millions of years. Maybe that's why, or for reasons not yet discovered, he weighs three times more than he needs.

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