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Researchers indentify massive galaxy with high star production rate

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The handout illustration provided by NASA shows Phoenix, the newly-found galaxy.

Astronomers have recently discovered a distant gigantic galaxy cluster that is capable of giving birth to new stars at an extraordinary rate.

Observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the US National Science Foundation’s South Pole Telescope and eight other observatories, showed that the newly-discovered galaxy is credited with forming an approximate amount of 740 new stars a year. This is while Milky Way galaxy creates about one new star each year.

The galaxy cluster, which is located about 5.7 billion light years from the Earth, is also said to produce the brightest output of X-ray light ever seen from a cluster.

“While galaxies at the center of most clusters may have been dormant for billions of years, the central galaxy in this cluster seems to have come back to life with a new burst of star formation,” said Michael McDonald of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the lead author of the paper on the research that is to be published in the August 16 issue of Nature.

Referring to the galaxy dubbed as ‘Phoenix’, the scientist added that “The mythology of the Phoenix, a bird rising from the dead, is a great way to describe this revived object.”

Researchers say the extraordinary massive black holes that seem to be at the centers of all big galaxies form stars at a low rate since they pump energy into the system in order to prevent the cooling of gases to reach temperatures at which stars can be formed.

But as Phoenix creates about two stars per day, researchers believe, its central galaxy’s black hole does not interfere with an extremely strong cooling flow.


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