The galaxy W2246-0526 is tearing itself to pieces in a stunning display of chaos.
It’s the most luminous galaxy in our universe, and it is ripping itself to pieces.
An obscured quasar 12.4 billion light-years away from us has such incredibly violent turbulence that it is blasting out its entire supply of star-forming gas, which would kill future star creation, according to a Phys.org report.
Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), researchers were able to track the motion of the gas and dust between the stars for the first time, and they found an incredible display of galactic chaos.
The galaxy, named W2246-0526, is producing infrared light that is about equivalent to 350 trillion suns. Scientists believe that the galaxy is an obscured quasar, or a supermassive black hole that is gobbling up everything in its vicinity while obscured by a large blanket of dust.
“These properties make this object a beast in the infrared,” said Roberto Assef in a statement. Assef is an astronomer with the Universidad Diego Portales and the leader of the ALMA team. “The powerful infrared energy emitted by the dust then has a direct and violent impact on the entire galaxy, producing extreme turbulence throughout the interstellar medium.”
The scientists say that this situation is like a pot of boiling water, and eventually this intense radiation will boil away all of the interstellar gas in the system.
It’s a rare form of quasar called Hot, Dust-Obscured Galaxies or Hot DOGs. Only 1 in 3,000 quasars fall into this category.
“Large amounts of this interstellar material were found in an extremely turbulent and dynamic state, careening throughout the galaxy at around two million kilometres per hour,” said lead author Tanio Díaz-Santos in a statement.