24May2015

Brightest Galaxy In Universe Equal To 300 Trillion Suns

Astrophysicists have discovered a remote galaxy shining with the light of more than 300 trillion suns. Known as WISE J224607.57-052635.0, it is the most luminous galaxy to ever be discovered.

An artist impression of the galaxy. Picture: NASA

An artist impression of the galaxy. Picture: NASA Source: NewsComAu

It  was located using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.NASA believes the discovery will change what we know about the universe. “We are looking at a very intense phase of galaxy evolution,” NASA said in a statement.

The team believes massive black holes at the centre of the galaxy are responsible for the strange phenomenon. “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,” NASA said.

“The light is blocked by surrounding cocoons of dust. As the dust heats up, it radiates infra-red light.” While black holes at the cores of galaxies are nothing new, NASA said finding one so deep in the cosmos was rare.

“Because light from the galaxy hosting the black hole has travelled 12.5 billion years to reach us, astronomers are seeing the object as it was in the distant past,” NASA said. “The black hole was already billions of times the mass of our sun when our universe was only a tenth of its present age of 13.8 billion years.”

NASA will now work to determine the masses at the centre of the black hole. “Knowing these objects’ true hefts will help reveal their history, as well as that of other galaxies, in this very crucial and frenzied chapter of our cosmos.”

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