Largest galaxy in the universe has just been discovered

(ORDO NEWS) — “Alcyonea” is located at a distance of about 3 billion light-years from us and is a giant radio galaxy that extends into space for 5 megaparsecs. It is 16.3 million light years long and is the largest known structure of galactic origin.

The discovery highlights our poor understanding of these colossi and what drives their incredible growth. But it could provide a path to a better understanding not only of giant radio galaxies, but also of the intergalactic medium drifting through the gaping voids of space.

Giant radio galaxies are another mystery in a universe full of mysteries. They consist of a host galaxy (which is a cluster of stars orbiting a galactic core containing a supermassive black hole ) and colossal jets and lobes erupting from the galactic center.

These jets and petals, interacting with the intergalactic medium, act as a synchrotron to accelerate electrons that produce radio emission.

Not all of the accretion disk material swirling into an active black hole inevitably ends up below the event horizon. A small portion of it is somehow directed from the inner region of the accretion disk to the poles, where it is ejected into space in the form of jets of ionized plasma at a speed that is a significant percentage of the speed of light.

These jets can travel great distances and then turn into giant radio-emitting lobes.

largest galaxy in the universe has just been discovered 2

This process is quite normal. Even the Milky Way has radio lobes. What we don’t really understand very well is why in some galaxies they grow to absolutely gigantic megaparsec scales. They are called giant radio galaxies, and the most extreme examples may be the key to understanding what drives their growth.

It is possible that Alcyonea is located in a region of space with a lower density than average, which may contribute to its expansion, or that interaction with the cosmic web plays a role in the object’s growth.

However, whatever is behind it, the researchers believe that Alcyonea is still growing far away in the darkness of space.

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