Hubble Captures A Mysterious, Beautiful Galaxy That Acts As An Astronomical Laser (Video)
Hubble telescope spotted a mysterious yet beautiful galaxy known as IRAS 16399-0937. It is a "megamaser," which is about 370 million lightyears away from planet Earth.
A megamaser is an astrophysical maser with massive isotropic luminosity. It is about 100 million times brighter than masers in the Milky Way. NASA explained that this galaxy has a far more exciting and futuristic classification than most -- it hosts a megamaser.
— Hubble (@NASA_Hubble) December 29, 2016
Engadget reports that the image was taken using two instruments, namely, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The researchers could see the galaxy with two separate cores during merging hiding behind thick cosmic gas and dust. They also found that the galaxy has a massive black hole, which is about 100 times the size of the Sun.
.@NASA_Hubble Gazes at megamaser galaxy iIRAS 16399-0937, 370 million light-years from Earth | via #NASA https://t.co/Q0DNplgqet — Gene J. Mikulka (@genejm29) December 29, 2016
The two separate galactic cores are different. The team named the northern one IRAS 16399N and the southern core as IRAS 16399S. The southern core seems to be a massive active starburst region with newly born stars at a huge rate. On the other hand, the northern core seems to be the opposite that has a huge field of weakly ionized neutral gas, according to Science Alert.
The Hubble telescope remains to be in operation and its successor will be launched in 2018. Hubble was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. It is one of the largest and most versatile research tools for astronomy. It could spot the farthest star and interesting galaxies in space. It is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble.