Monday, April 3, 2023

Astronomers Discover Unique Galaxy Transformation: PBC J2333.9-2343's Classification Shifts Due to Core Activity

3:58 PM | ,

A group of international astronomers has uncovered a galaxy, PBC J2333.9-2343, that has transformed its classification due to a distinctive core activity. Previously considered a radio galaxy, new findings reveal it as a giant radio galaxy with a blazar at its core. Located 656 million light-years away, PBC J2333.9-2343 spans approximately 4 million light-years and houses a blazar - an active galactic nucleus (AGN) featuring a relativistic jet. Blazars are among the universe's most powerful phenomena, emitting high-energy radiation.

In PBC J2333.9-2343, the jet has dramatically shifted direction up to 90 degrees, altering the galaxy's classification. The jet, consisting of charged particles moving at near-light speeds, likely originates from the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center. When the jet points towards Earth, the emission intensifies, generating high-intensity flares and changing the galaxy's categorization.

A coloured image using the z/i/g filters taken from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) PS1, a system for wide-field astronomical imaging developed and operated by the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. The galaxy PBC J2333.9-2343 is located at the centre of the image. the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii

Astronomers observed PBC J2333.9-2343 across the electromagnetic spectrum, using radio, optical, infrared, X-ray, ultraviolet, and gamma-ray telescopes[2]. Data from various telescopes, including the German Effelsberg 100 m radio telescope, the 1.3 m SMARTS optical telescope, and the Penn State Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, were analyzed. The team concluded that this galaxy has a bright blazar in its center, with two outer lobes related to old jets and no longer fed by nucleus emission.

The cause of the jet's drastic direction change remains unknown, with potential explanations being a fusion event with another galaxy or a significant explosion of nucleus activity.


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