As if the present galaxies are not wondrous and bright enough – The Milky Way, The Andromeda, Sombrero, Centaurus – so many to name, yet another galaxy has been discovered by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, WISE. This galaxy, named WISE J224607.57-052635.0 is not just any galaxy, it is said to be the most luminous galaxy to date – it shines with the light of more than 300 trillion suns!
This extremely brilliant galaxy belongs to a new class of objects recently discovered by WISE – extremely luminous infrared galaxies, simply abbreviated as ELIRGs. This dazzling light is said to be the main growth spurt of the galaxy’s black hole. It may have a humongous black hole at its belly, gorging itself on gases.
These Supermassive black holes draw gas and matter into a disk around them, heating it to tremendous temperatures of millions of degrees and blasting out huge amounts of high energy, visible, ultraviolet and X Ray light. The light is blocked by surrounding cocoons of dust, which when heated up, radiates infrared light.
Huge black holes are common at the cores of galaxies, but discovering one so large and so far away in the cosmos is rare. Since the light galaxy hosting the black hole is about 12.5 billion light years away, astronomers are seeing the object as it was in the past. The black hole was already billions of times the mass of our sun when our universe was only a tenth of its present age of 13.8 billion years.
This study addresses why these black holes in the ELIRGS are so expansive. The first reason is that these black holes might have been born big. Or, the seeds or the embryonic black holes are bigger than the normal black holes. Another reason is that the black hole consumed food typically much faster than a n average black hole would, which is possible when the black hole is spinning relatively slow.
When a black hole is spinning slow, it will not repel food as fast. As a result, a slow spinning black hole consumes more matter than a fast spinning one. The third reason could be that the black hole has been consuming matter for a longer period of time than the average black holes.
More research is necessary to solve the mystery of these utterly brilliant galaxies. WISE has been able to find more such galaxies by viewing the sky with augmented sensitivity and has been able to catch rare cosmic specimens that might have been missed otherwise.