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Hubble Discovers Intensely Bright Galaxy Hosting Megamaser

First Posted: Dec 30, 2016 03:20 AM EST
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More than 370 million lightyears away from Earth is a remarkable galaxy recently discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The galaxy, known as IRAS 16399-0937, is also said to be more exciting and more futuristic than most as it is home to a megamaser -- essentially a microwave beam-like light amplificator that creates intense beams. These objects, according to Mail Online, are said to be 100 million times brighter found than those in other galaxies like the Milky Way.

However, in the case of the IRAS 16399-0937, the beams emitted are microwave and not visible light. The image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope already combined observations captured across the wavelengths by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer.

With the data, scientists found that the galaxy has a double nucleus with two separate cores believed to be in the process of merging. The two bodies are more than 11,000 lightyears apart but are interacting and are also said to lie within the same swirl of cosmic gas and dust, creating a rather unusual shape.

Phys.org noted that the nuclei are actuall very different as well, with the IRAS 16399S (South) appearing as a starburst region, and IRAS 16399N (North) appearing as a LINER nucleus (or a Low Ionization Nuclear Emission Region, which mostly has weakly ionized or neutral atoms of gases). What is interesting, however, is that the northern nucleus also hosts a black hole, which is about 100 million times the mass of our own Sun.

Still, this is not the first time that masers made headlines. NASA revealed earlier this year that it found a mysterious object in the Milky Way to be still in its embryotic stage of existence. However, such object has already showed signs of being both extremely young and extremely old, confusing scientists over its true nature.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

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