Rare Kind of Galaxy DiscoveredCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: December 11, 2012 10:51AM
Whenever you look into the night sky there are a prodigious amount of different kinds of objects in your view, from stars and planets to galaxies and quasars. Scientists attempt to classify all of these objects into neat little groups, but sometimes a newly observed object does not fit. This is the case with some new observations from the European Southern Observatory where researchers have found a new class of galaxy.
Labeled J22402431-092748, the galaxy is roughly 3.7 billion light years away and is what the researchers are calling a Green Bean galaxy. The name is because of its odd green glow and much larger size than Green Pea galaxies, but the similarity between these kinds of galaxies ends there. The green light is not the only odd thing about J2240 though as its central glowing region, characteristic of all galaxies, is much larger than that of any galaxies. Typically these regions are just a tenth the diameter of a galaxy, but here it is the entire width. This galaxy is not unique either, as the researchers poured through datasets and identified 16 more.
The researchers are not certain yet but are believe this glow is actually a light echo from the galaxies' supermassive black holes that only recently have stopped feeding. This is important if true as it should allow astronomers to study how a supermassive black hole shuts down over time.