Galaxies come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and brightnesses, starting from humdrum ordinary galaxies to luminous active galaxies. Whereas an ordinary galaxy is seen primarily due to the light from its stars, a lively galaxy shines brightest at its center, or nucleus, the place a supermassive black hole emits a gentle blast of bright mild because it voraciously consumes close by gas and dust.
Sitting someplace on the spectrum between ordinary and active galaxies is one other class, often known as low-ionization nuclear emission-line area (LINER) galaxies. Whereas LINERs are comparatively widespread, accounting for roughly one-third of all close by galaxies, astronomers have fiercely debated the primary supply of light emission from LINERs. Some argue that weakly lively galactic nuclei are accountable, whereas others preserve that star-forming areas exterior the galactic nucleus produce essentially the mildest.
A workforce of astronomers noticed six mild-mannered LINER galaxies instantly and surprisingly reworking into ravenous quasars—dwelling to the brightest of all lively galactic nuclei. The group reported their observations, which might assist demystify the character of each LINERs and quasars whereas answering some burning questions on galactic evolution, in The Astrophysical Journal on September 18, 2019. Based mostly on their evaluation, the researchers’ counsel they’ve found an entirely new sort of black hole activity on the facilities of those six LINER galaxies.
“For one of many six objects, we first thought we had noticed a tidal disruption occasion, which occurs when a star passes too near a supermassive black gap and will get shredded,” stated Sara Frederick, a graduate scholar within the University of Maryland Department of Astronomy and the lead author of the research paper. “However we later discovered it was a beforehand dormant black hole present process a transition that astronomers name an ‘altering look,’ leading to a bright quasar. Observing six of those transitions, all in comparatively quiet LINER galaxies means that we’ve recognized a completely new class of active galactic nucleus.”