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This galaxy survived a black hole feast



Washington, November 28 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a galaxy that has been surviving a black hole hunger by continuing to give birth to new stars, about 100 stars the size of the sun a year.

The discovery of NASA’s airplane telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), can help explain how massive galaxies came to be, although galaxies that no longer form stars dominate the universe today according to the study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

“This shows us that the growth of active black holes does not prevent the immediate birth of a star, contrary to all current scientific predictions,” said study co-author Allison Kirkpatrick, Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas at Lawrence, Kansas, US.

“It causes us to re-think our theories on how galaxies evolve.”

SOFIA, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, studied DLR, a very distant galaxy, located over 5.25 billion light years away called CQ4479.

At its core is a special type of quasar recently discovered by Kirkpatrick called “cold quasar.”

In this type of quasar, the active black hole is still feasting on material from its host galaxy, but the intense energy of the quasar has not robbed all of the cold gas, so stars can still form and the galaxy lived.

This is the first time researchers have had a detailed look at a cold quasar, measuring directly the growth of the black hole, the birth rate of a star, and the amount of cold gas left to ignite the galaxy.

“We were surprised to see another odball galaxy that challenges current theories,” said Kevin Cooke, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and lead author of this study.

“If this tandem growth continues the black hole and the stars around it would trip up in mass before the galaxy reaches its end.”

As one of the brightest and most distant objects in the universe, quasi-quasars, or “semi-stellar radio sources,” are extremely difficult to observe because they often outweigh everything around them.

They form when a particularly active black hole consumes a large amount of material from its surrounding galaxy, creating strong gravitational forces.


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