Washington: New observations have revealed that an obscured quasar 12.4 billion light-years away which is known as the most luminous galaxy in the Universe is so violently turbulent, that it may eventually jettison its entire supply of star-forming gas.
A team of researchers used Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to trace the actual motion of the galaxy's interstellar medium, the gas and dust between the stars.
According to Tanio Diaz-Santos from the Universidad Diego Portales, after the observation the researchers found that the galaxy is so chaotic that it is ripping itself apart.
Previous studies with NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft revealed that the galaxy, dubbed W2246-0526, is glowing in infrared light as intensely as approximately 350 trillion suns.
Evidence strongly suggests that this galaxy is an obscured quasar, a very distant galaxy with a voraciously feeding supermassive black hole at its center that is completely obscured behind a thick blanket of dust.
Roberto Assef, an astronomer with the Universidad Diego Portales and leader of the ALMA observing team said that these properties make this object a beast in the infrared.
Assef added that 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.
This galaxy belongs to a very unusual type of quasar known as Hot, Dust-Obscured Galaxies or Hot DOGs. These objects are very rare; only 1 out of every 3,000 quasars observed by WISE belongs to this class.
The astronomers believe that this turbulence is primarily due to the fact that the region around the black hole is at least 100 times more luminous than the rest of the galaxy combined; in other quasars, the proportion is much more modest. This intense yet localized radiation exerts tremendous pressure on the entire galaxy, to potentially devastating effect.
The observation is published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.