A green galaxy has been discovered using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced Tuesday. Once they spotted the faint red galaxy with the infrared camera, they took a deeper look with the Hubble Space Telescope.
If you can see the tiny red dot in the above photo from NASA, you’re looking at a galaxy with a nearly 100 percent efficiency at creating new stars.
That’s right. You’re quick. The green galaxy isn’t green in the optical light spectrum.
Instead, it’s green in the sense that it’s super fuel efficient. NASA explained that the Hubble studies revealed that the most of the starlight in this unusual galaxy is coming from a small region a fraction of the size of our own Milky Way galaxy.
Yet, within that relatively small region, stars are forming at hundreds of times the rate that they form in our own galaxy.
“This is a case of star formation at its most extreme,” JPL said in their statement announcing the discovery.
Jim Geach of Canada’s McGill University and lead author of a study on the galaxy published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters is equally enthusiastic: “This galaxy…[is] converting its gas supply into new stars at the maximum rate thought possible.”
By the way, don’t you love the names of rare and distant galaxies? This one goes by the moniker SDSSJ1506+54.
I like that +54. That’s the kind of galaxy that doesn’t tolerate any nonsense. It’s just fast and efficient, going about the business of making baby stars as fast as it can possibly pump ’em out.
“We see some gas outflowing from this galaxy at millions of miles per hour, and this gas may have been blown away by the powerful radiation from the newly formed stars,” said Ryan Hickox, a Dartmouth College astrophysicist who is a co-author on the study.
And I thought my dad’s Scion was reasonably fuel efficient. But none of us can keep up with the newly discovered green galaxy.
[green galaxy photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/IRAM]