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Astronomers in Chile discover new galaxy

English.news.cn   2012-12-06 15:49:25            

SANTIAGO, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- European Space Agency (ESA) researchers in Chile have discovered a new galaxy, which has a bright green glow caused by its enormous black hole.

Researchers located the galaxy, labelled J224024.1-092748, in the constellation Aquarius, which is 3.7 billion light-years away from Earth, officials here said Wednesday.

The astronomers say the galaxy is a rare type, having found only 16 other galaxies with similar properties after comparing nearly one billion.

Experts have nicknamed them "Green Bean Galaxies" because of their singular shape and the intense light color emitted by their huge black holes.

Compared to other galaxies, Green Bean Galaxies have supermassive black holes that emit an intense radiation, which ionizes oxygen around and stokes the green glow. These galaxies have a decaying galactic center, marking a very fleeting phase in the life of a galaxy.

Experts believe the galaxy's brightest regions echo the black hole's activity. Those echoes allow experts to study the life processes of the black holes and the Green Bean Galaxies.

"These shining regions are fantastic probes for trying to understand the physics of galaxies, it's like we could place a thermometer into a very, very far away galaxy," said Mischa Schirmer, astronomer from the Gemini Observatory.

The green glow allows astronomers to study the decaying processes of these active objects to better understand how, when and why they die out and why few of them can be observed in younger galaxies.

"To discover something completely new is an astronomer's dream come true and a once-in-a-life time event. It's very exhilarating," Schirmer said.

Editor: Fang Yang
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