Most Luminous Galaxy in the Universe
The galaxy W2246-0526 has the claim to the title above for its extreme luminosity in infrared.
Its story is 3 companion galaxies are being pulled apart by a central spiral galaxy.
The images do not necessarily support that conclusion.
New observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
reveal distinct streamers of material being pulled from three smaller galaxies and flowing into the more massive galaxy, which was discovered in 2015 by NASA’s space-based Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). It is by no means the largest or most massive galaxy we know of, but it is unrivaled in its brightness, emitting as much infrared light as 350 trillion Suns.
The connecting tendrils between the galaxies contain about as much material as the galaxies themselves. ALMA’s amazing resolution and sensitivity allowed the researchers to detect these remarkably faint and distant trans-galactic streamers.
I will diverge for a moment.
An online story titled 'Galaxy W2246-0526: Extremely Luminous Galaxy That Emits Infrared Light As 350 Trillion Suns'
identifies the 3 companion galaxies:
C1 is close to the right of the main galaxy
C2 is to the far lower left of the main galaxy
C3 is above the main galaxy.
The emissions between the main galaxy and C2 are called a 'tidal tail'
The top image is only an artist's rendition. This 'picture' appears in nearly every story about this galaxy.
The spiral galaxy which is feeding is at the lower right while its meals are above (C3) and to the right (C1) and far to the lower left (C2).
With these assignments and returning to the artist's picture below the main galaxy is a possible spiral arm wrapping counter clockwise to about 4 o'clock.
Back to the story.
This 'flowing material' is a luminous filament.
Rather than pulling material into the core they look like possible spiral arms getting electrical energy from the core to the ends of the arms.
Astronomers are proposing a (EU) filament to separate objects considered companion galaxies rather than considering these objects are distorted spiral arms.
Perhaps this is up to the reader when lacking more data.
This is not the end of this story.
I don't know if the Hubble image of this galaxy is correct.
In this NRAO story there are 3 images to the right, below videos and images. The top is the artist's picture; the middle is the area in radio; the bottom is a composite of Hubble in optical with the radio.
These are interesting because of their inconsistency.
The top image shows two unmentioned radio sources:
1) one to the far right, perhaps at the end of that spiral arm.
2) another to the lower right, with a rough S shape.
There is no explanation for either remote source.
This mystery deepens when looking at the composite image which includes optical.
That remote radio source at the lower right coincides with a bright luminous object. Though this object has spikes it is a ring and is not a foreground star.
There is an active radio/optical source separated from the galaxy.
A red shift could be interesting for an ejected object scenario.
There is another incredible object in the Hubble image. There is a HUGE spiral galaxy above and to the left of the distorted galaxy.
Perhaps this Hubble image is a mistake and this huge galaxy is not in the correct image.
However when searching online for images of W2246-0526 some show this spiral galaxy.
This unnamed galaxy is interesting because its spiral arms are intact despite its proximity to this other distorted galaxy.
One cannot know if the AMA field of view included only the galaxy of interest.
This W2246-0526 has several mysteries:
why is a nearby spiral galaxy ignored?
why are remote radio sources ignored?
why does nearly every story use an artist's rendition?
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