Astronomers discover most luminous galaxy in universe
U.S. space agency (NASA) said in Washington on Friday that its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope has discovered a remote galaxy that shines with the light of more than 300 trillion suns, making it the most luminous galaxy ever found.
It said the galaxy, known as “WISE J224607.57-052635.0’’, belongs to a recently discovered new class of objects called extremely luminous infrared galaxies.
NASA said its dazzling light may be due to a behemoth black hole at its belly.
The space agency explained in a statement that “Supermassive black holes draw gas and matter into a disk around them, heating the disk to roaring temperatures of millions of degrees and blasting out high-energy, visible, ultraviolet, and X-ray light.
It said the light, however, was absorbed by surrounding cocoons of dust, which prevents the agency from seeing the galaxy with optical telescopes.
“When the dust heats up, it radiates infrared light, which is only now detected by the WISE telescope.
NASA said because light from the galaxy hosting the black hole has traveled 12.5 billion years to reach us, astronomers are seeing the object as it was in the distant past.
It said at that time, the universe was only a tenth of its present age of 13.8 billion years, but the black hole was already billions of times the mass of our sun.
The new study, published in the Astrophysical Journal, also reported 19 other extremely luminous infrared galaxies.
It said just like the most luminous galaxy found to date, the galaxies were not found earlier because of their distance, and because dust converts their powerful visible light into an incredible outpouring of infrared light.
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