Glowing 'Giant Green Blob' Mystery, Unlocked
The mysterious glowing of the giant green blob of gas and dust known as Lyman-alpha blob or LAB-1 has been finally figured out by the astronomers. The blob's luminosity is caused by large and star-rich galaxies that were observed at the center of the blob.
Space reports that the astronomers identified the blob's central galaxies through the Atacama Large Millimeters/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. They spotted a pair of galaxies tossing new stars that are 100 times faster than the Milky Way. It has been 15 years that the astronomers have been solving its mysteriously glowing green luminosity.
The astronomers also used the Hubble Space Telescope to be able to map the region that surrounds the LAB-1. They found that the galaxies seem to be amalgamating into a galaxy cluster. They said that the surrounding galaxies are likely delivering material for the duo's rapid star formation. This duo would likely join together and become an elliptical galaxy, according to UPI.
To validate the source of the blob's glow the astronomers used the Feedback in Realistic Environment, which is a model that simulate the galaxy evolution. This showed the light from the plethora of the newborn stars that will be captivated by the hydrogen gas and re-emitted as Lyman-alpha radiation.
Jim Geach, an astronomer and the lead author of the study, which was published in Astrophysical Journal, said that for a long time, the origin of the extended Lyman-alpha light has been controversial. He further said that with the combination of new observations and cutting-edge simulations, they think that they have solved a 15-year-old mystery. He finally concluded that Lyman-alpha blob 1 is the site of formation of a massive elliptical galaxy that will one day be the heart of a giant cluster.