Tuesday, December 18, 2007

‘Death Star Galaxy’ Attacks Neighbor

In a rare discovery, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics “witnessed a supermassive black hole blasting its galactic neighbor with a deadly beam of energy,” reports Space.com.

It’s not unusual for a black hole to spew massive, high-energy beams with nasty radiation in the form of Gamma and X-Rays traveling at the speed of light. But it’s incredibly rare for that beam to spray a galaxy.

On the dark side, the beam may be vaporizing the radiation-blocking ozone layer of Earth-like planets, thus wiping out all surface life. However, the beam may be compressing otherwise inert interstellar gases, the first step in creating stars, which ultimately give life.

The otherwise unnamed “death star galaxy” is part of the 3C321 system, and it’s only been shooting its deadly beam for about 1 million years (merely a few minutes in cosmological time). Experts estimate the beam will continue to fire for another 10 to 100 million years.

No comments:

Pound360 Archive

About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.