The Universe has never been a quiet place nor the most suitable one for space objects and other cosmic features. It’s actually full of gas and dust, and it creates some odd yet intriguing shapes, such as butterflies, massive pillars, jellyfish, and even one that looks like a hand. Astronomers have spotted another pattern, and it’s going to be a delight for Star Wars fans.
TXS 0128+554 is a distant galaxy that resembles a TIE Fighter. A few years ago, the galaxy was discovered, but NASA scientists have recently realized a deep dive to find how it came to be. By doing that, they got the familiar-seeming shape in radio waves. Here is what you need to know.
Galaxy TXS 0128+554 Features Revealed
TXS 0128+554 is approximately 500 million light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. It’s an AGN (Active Galactic Nucleus) that hosts a supermassive black hole in the middle. And in this case, the supermassive black hole is covered by dust and gas in the “cockpit” of the TIE Fighter.
The black hole, however, has an important role. It helps generate the “wings” of the ship. Almost one in ten black holes dismisses jets – massive beams made up of high-energy particles – out of both sides, which move close to the speed of light right to those two wings or lobes.
Intriguingly enough, there’s a significant gap in some frequencies between the cockpit (the center) and the lobes. Scientists believe that the galaxy’s jets turned on approximately 90 years ago, stopped running 40 years ago, and got back on track in the last decade. It created quite the gap in the middle on either part of the core.
“We zoomed in a million times closer on the galaxy using VLBA’s radio antennas and charted its shape over time,” detailed astrophysicist Matthew Lister.
Scientists don’t know yet what made the jets turn on and off. However, the more AGNs scientists can discover, the more chance they’ll have of finding out.
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