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Scientists discover galaxy 1000 times brighter than Milky Way

Jul 17, 2017 13:09 IST

A group of researchers discovered a very distant galaxy, which is about a thousand times brighter than the Milky Way.

As per the researchers, it is the brightest of the submillimetre galaxies, a class of ultraluminous infrared galaxies.

The discovery was published recently in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Scientists discover galaxy 1000 times brighter than Milky Way

How it is the brightest ever galaxy?

To measure this galaxy, the researchers used the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma) in Spain.

In order to identify the brightest submillimetre galaxies, researchers carried out a search of the whole sky, combining the data bases of NASA's WISE satellite and European Space Agency's Planck satellite.

The galaxy's light, amplified by a much nearer galaxy cluster acting as a lens, forms an image which appears much bigger than it should, and it is due to this effect that the researchers could characterise its nature and properties spectroscopically using the GTC.

• This phenomenon, known as gravitational lensing, is comparable to that produced by lenses on light rays, and acts as a sort of magnifier, changing the size and intensity of the apparent image of the original object.

Due to the gravitational lens produced by a cluster of galaxies between ourselves and the source, which acts as if it was a telescope, the galaxy appears 11 times bigger and brighter than it really is.

The galaxy is notable for having a high rate of star formation. It is forming stars at a rate of 1000 solar masses per year, compared to the Milky Way, which is forming stars at a rate of some twice a solar mass per year.

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