Posted Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, at 5:48 PM
Meet the galactic Kate Gosselin! Astronomers have discovered a galactic supermom that is birthing new stars a thousand times faster than known stellar nurseries. This galaxy at the center of the giant Phoenix cluster 5.7 billion light years away from us makes 700 stars each year.
The discovery has shocked scientists. Galaxies at the core of a cluster are typically "red and dead"—too hot to produce new stars due to the heating effects of their resident black holes. The Phoenix cluster galaxy is glowing baby blue and shooting out X-rays at record levels, both indicators of young star formation.
Photo by NASA/Getty Images
The answer may be as stunning as the discovery; we may be witnessing a previously unknown period of life in a galaxy, when it’s black hole has yet to heat things up—a universal eye blink lasting only a hundred million years. The theory is new—just like the discovery—but regardless, we just found a huge source of starlight!
Video by Paca Thomas.