Brightest galaxy swallowed satellite galaxies to “feed” a black hole

(ORDO NEWS) — The brightest galaxy in the visible Universe WISE J224607.57-052635.0 (hereinafter W2246-0526) is more than 12.5 billion light-years away from Earth.

This suggests that it was formed at an early stage in the development of the universe.

NASA astrophysicists recorded that W2246-0526 swallowed up three satellite galaxies, tearing them apart.

“When we learned that the galaxy under study has three satellites, which are much smaller in size, we did not admit that the supermassive black hole W2246-0526 could have such an effect on them.

Our team wasn’t looking for signs of cannibalism, so it was very unexpected,” Peter Eisenhardt, NASA astrophysicist, commented on the discovery.


W2246-0526 was discovered by Eisenhardt’s team in 2015 while studying a series of WISE space telescope images collected over 2010.

One of these images showed W2246-0526 hiding from optical telescopes behind a dense layer of hot gas and dust.

brightest galaxy swallowed satellite galaxies to feed a black hole 2

When Eisenhardt’s team determined the mass of the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, they didn’t believe the result at first, rechecking it over and over again.

“At the center of W2246-0526 is a black hole that is at least 3 billion times heavier than the Sun!

In the pictures, we see the galaxy as it was 12.5 billion years ago, and it doesn’t fit in our head how in 1.3 billion years it was able to “grow” such a hole,” Eisenhardt said.

Source of “food”

Existing theories fail to explain how the supermassive black hole at the center of W2246-0526 could “grow” such a mass naturally in a relatively short period of time.

Therefore, NASA astronomers continued their research and expanded the observation area by connecting the ALMA microwave telescope to the observation of W2246-0526.

As a result, this brought even more surprises. It turned out that the black hole W2246-0526 seems to be connected to three satellite galaxies by thick gas and dust lines.

This allows the black hole to “suck out” all the matter from neighboring galaxies, tearing them into fragments.

brightest galaxy swallowed satellite galaxies to feed a black hole 1

The matter captured by the W2246-0526 galaxy will not fall on the outskirts, as is often the case, but is immediately dragged into the black hole, which continues to grow.

Part of the gas that gets close enough to the black hole is heated to critical temperatures and flies out at near-light speed into the surrounding space, which provides the galaxy with such anomalous brightness.


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