As space can sometimes be challenging to understand, or hard to explore, due to a high amount of cosmic violence, sometimes it offers unique experiences. Recently, astronomers have shot the first photographic proof of the slaughter that can be released when two colliding galaxies. An international team of scientists has realized an intriguing discovery. They captured a relativistic jet of gas and plasma spreading forth from two galaxies.
The galaxies that collided are younger and shaped like disks. They possess little gas, and dark material dispersed through them indicates that it isn’t the first incident they’ve had together. Both galaxies have vast black holes at their cores that turn material into a turbulent storm. Then it radiates strongly with heat. Such glowing centers are dubbed active galactic nuclei (AGN). They can send more energy in only a second than our host star will ever produce.
The Two Colliding Galaxies Released A Massive Jet
Approximately 15 % of all AGNs appear to possess the best conditions to emit streams of plasma from their poles. A light that crosses intergalactic space later emerged. Most massive laser beams are steered away from our viewpoint. Scientists called those things, quasars. And sometimes, they can be detected when pointing in our direction, letting astronomers examine them. TXS 2116-077 happened to possess such types of AGN.
“This jet is less powerful, so we can actually see the galaxy where it is born,” explained Stefano Marchesi, an astronomer from the Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science. It seems that this specific beam is only heating up. Its parent galaxy is far behind, and it can be observed burying itself into the core of another galaxy. The discovery has implications for how we define jets from other galaxies full of older stars, aiming to collisions as essential features in their evolution.