Six galaxies undergoing sudden, dramatic transitions

Persej

The Living Force
FOTCM Member

Galaxies come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and brightnesses, ranging from humdrum ordinary galaxies to luminous active galaxies. While an ordinary galaxy is visible mainly because of the light from its stars, an active galaxy shines brightest at its center, or nucleus, where a supermassive black hole emits a steady blast of bright light as it voraciously consumes nearby gas and dust.

Sitting somewhere on the spectrum between ordinary and active galaxies is another class, known as low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER) galaxies. While LINERs are relatively common, accounting for roughly one-third of all nearby galaxies, astronomers have fiercely debated the main source of light emission from LINERs. Some argue that weakly active galactic nuclei are responsible, while others maintain that star-forming regions outside the galactic nucleus produce the most light.

A team of astronomers observed six mild-mannered LINER galaxies suddenly and surprisingly transforming into ravenous quasars -- home to the brightest of all active galactic nuclei. The team reported their observations, which could help demystify the nature of both LINERs and quasars while answering some burning questions about galactic evolution, in the Astrophysical Journal on September 18, 2019. Based on their analysis, the researchers suggest they have discovered an entirely new type of black hole activity at the centers of these six LINER galaxies.

"For one of the six objects, we first thought we had observed a tidal disruption event, which happens when a star passes too close to a supermassive black hole and gets shredded," said Sara Frederick, a graduate student in the University of Maryland Department of Astronomy and the lead author of the research paper. "But we later found it was a previously dormant black hole undergoing a transition that astronomers call a 'changing look,' resulting in a bright quasar. Observing six of these transitions, all in relatively quiet LINER galaxies, suggests that we've identified a totally new class of active galactic nucleus."

All six of the surprising transitions were observed during the first nine months of the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), an automated sky survey project based at Caltech's Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California, which began observations in March 2018. UMD is a partner in the ZTF effort, facilitated by the Joint Space-Science Institute (JSI), a partnership between UMD and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Changing look transitions have been documented in other galaxies -- most commonly in a class of active galaxies known as Seyfert galaxies. By definition, Seyfert galaxies all have a bright, active galactic nucleus, but Type 1 and Type 2 Seyfert galaxies differ in the amount of light they emit at specific wavelengths. According to Frederick, many astronomers suspect that the difference results from the angle at which astronomers view the galaxies.

Type 1 Seyfert galaxies are thought to face Earth head-on, giving an unobstructed view of their nuclei, while Type 2 Seyfert galaxies are tilted at an oblique angle, such that their nuclei are partially obscured by a donut-shaped ring of dense, dusty gas clouds. Thus, changing look transitions between these two classes present a puzzle for astronomers, since a galaxy's orientation towards Earth is not expected to change.

Frederick and her colleagues' new observations may call these assumptions into question.

"We started out trying to understand changing look transformations in Seyfert galaxies. But instead, we found a whole new class of active galactic nucleus capable of transforming a wimpy galaxy to a luminous quasar," said Suvi Gezari, an associate professor of astronomy at UMD, a co-director of JSI and a co-author of the research paper. "Theory suggests that a quasar should take thousands of years to turn on, but these observations suggest that it can happen very quickly. It tells us that the theory is all wrong. We thought that Seyfert transformation was the major puzzle. But now we have a bigger issue to solve."

Frederick and her colleagues want to understand how a previously quiet galaxy with a calm nucleus can suddenly transition to a bright beacon of galactic radiation. To learn more, they performed follow-up observations on the objects with the Discovery Channel Telescope, which is operated by the Lowell Observatory in partnership with UMD, Boston University, the University of Toledo and Northern Arizona University. These observations helped to clarify aspects of the transitions, including how the rapidly transforming galactic nuclei interacted with their host galaxies.

"Our findings confirm that LINERs can, in fact, host active supermassive black holes at their centers," Frederick said. "But these six transitions were so sudden and dramatic, it tells us that there is something altogether different going on in these galaxies. We want to know how such massive amounts of gas and dust can suddenly start falling into a black hole. Because we caught these transitions in the act, it opens up a lot of opportunities to compare what the nuclei looked like before and after the transformation."

Unlike most quasars, which light up the surrounding clouds of gas and dust far beyond the galactic nucleus, the researchers found that only the gas and dust closest to the nucleus had been turned on. Frederick, Gezari and their collaborators suspect that this activity gradually spreads from the galactic nucleus -- and may provide the opportunity to map the development of a newborn quasar.

"It's surprising that any galaxy can change its look on human time scales. These changes are taking place much more quickly than we can explain with current quasar theory," Frederick said. "It will take some work to understand what can disrupt a galaxy's accretion structure and cause these changes on such short order. The forces at play must be very extreme and very dramatic."
Sounds like some sort of cosmic quantum jump.
 

Konstantin

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
If we could find more data about these galaxies like even the aproximate distance fron the first one that start changing to the last one, the sixth one then we could find some aproximate distance. Then we know that these changes occured in about 9 months, we can calculate the speed.
Lets suppose this is the Wave that Cs were talking about, maybe we can know its speed. I know that the Wave is not just a phisical wave, and it is not only on a 3d plane, that it is much more complex.
Just quick thought that came to my mind while reading this article and this thread.:huh:
 

candasiri

Padawan Learner
Tried to find where they are located but could not. The Wave!!!! Makes me so excited! Anyone have any luck finding where they might be? I haven't looked at the journal article. Discovered at Palomar no less.
 

Jones

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Tried to find where they are located but could not. The Wave!!!! Makes me so excited! Anyone have any luck finding where they might be? I haven't looked at the journal article. Discovered at Palomar no less.
I tried to find out what the six galaxies were named, but also couldn't. In that process I came across the following that was reported on March 19, 2019.

March 19, 2019

Your nighttime cup of chamomile might help you go to sleep, but this turbulent teacup is far from soothing.

Sitting inside a galaxy known as the “Teacup,” nicknamed after its distinct silhouette, lies a storm that’s causing quite the stir. Powered by a supermassive black hole, astronomers thought the commotion inside this distant galaxy was rapidly dying down, but recent data published in the Astrophysical Journal says otherwise.

The uproar is happening within the bright mass at the center of the Teacup, which is roughly 1.1 billion light years from Earth. The composite image above, displaying both optical (red and green) and X-ray (blue) light, shows a supermassive black hole outshining the rest of its host galaxy.

While the black hole itself can’t be seen, it’s surrounded by incredibly strong gravitational and magnetic fields. These allow the powerful black hole to suck up surrounding stars, planets, dust and gas. Ripping all of this material to shreds produces extreme amounts of radiation — more than all of the stars in the galaxy. Known as quasars, these blazing regions are thought to be the brightest objects in the universe.

Aside from its intense glow, astronomers believe that the Teacup’s signature handle was actually created by the quasar. The staggering amount of radiation that surrounds the black hole can cause high-speed galactic winds, known as jets, to shoot out from either side of the quasar. These powerful jets likely blew a ring of galactic material into space and created the empty “bubble” that sits inside of the handle.

Grasping the Handle

In a previous study, conducted after the Teacup was discovered in 2007, researchers used optical telescopes to observe its features. They found that its handle was made up of ionized atoms, meaning that high amounts of radiation had, at some point, passed through and stripped them of their electrons.

But comparing the amount of radiation needed to ionize the atoms to the amount gusting from the quasar showed that there wasn’t nearly enough. This implied that the quasar’s wind, once housing enough radiation to ionize atoms, had slowed down drastically. Their stats suggested that the quasar’s radiation production had fallen by a factor of at least 50, and possibly up to 600, in the last 100,000 years. This steep decline painted a dark picture for the ever-weakening quasar.

But new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton mission are breathing light into the quasar’s future. Together, their X-ray observations show that the Teacup is highly obscured by gas, which hindered the optical telescope’s ability to detect all the radiation emitting from the quasar. The new study picked up much more radiation, and suggests that it’s only decreased by a factor of 25, maximum, over the last 100,000 years.

The discovery not only pours new life into the Teacup’s quasar, but shows how astronomers can use unique galactic features, like the Teacup’s handle, to learn about the mysterious black holes that lie within them.
 

Pierre

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Theory suggests that a quasar should take thousands of years to turn on, but these observations suggest that it can happen very quickly. It tells us that the theory is all wrong
Did you notice how often observations drastically differ from theory? So many times I've read this kind of surprised comment. It is fascinating to observe top experts totally puzzled by observations, i.e. reality.

Of course, it suggests that the theories are wrong. But more importantly, it might also suggests that the very dogmas upon which those theories are created are wrong.

Modern science creates plenty of ad hoc theories that poorly explain new observations because those ad hoc theories are not really designed to get closer to truth but to save the fundamental paradigms of the scientist cult among which gradualism, materialism, uniformitarianism.

There is now tons of "unexpected observations" of astronomical objects that display sudden changes in brightness (starts, comets, asteroids, moons, galaxies).

The electric dimension of the Universe has been acknowledged for more than 50 years but it is still denied by mainstream science. The electric dimension of galaxies has been widely investigated as shown in the following links:


Of course, not everything is electric, and electricity is still a poorly, although widely used, concept. But it's definitely a factor to take into account in an Universe mostly (98%) made of plasma.

The reluctance of mainstream science to accept the role of electricity in some astronomic events probably comes from the fact that it would definitely threaten their uniformitarianism dogma. Indeed, in an electric universe, catastrophes are way more probable (and diverse) than in an Universe purely ruled by constant gravity.
 

Windmill knight

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Wow! Well that's exciting! From session 9 April 2011:

A: What do you think about the ”new” explosion 3 to 4 billion light years away? They think, that is.

{Here it seems the Cs are referring to recent news of an explosion that is going on in the center of a small galaxy said to be 3.8 billion light-years away. See:
“Astronomers say they have never seen anything this bright, long-lasting and variable before. Usually gamma-ray bursts mark the end of a massive star and emission from these events never lasts more than a few hours. But radiation from the blast continues to brighten and fade from the location a week after the explosion.”
And: “Rather than the short-lived gamma-ray bursts typically associated with the death of a massive star -- most last no more than a few hours -- this explosion continues more than a week later to emanate pulses of high-energy cosmic radiation for an effect that's brighter, longer lasting, and more variable than scientists have ever seen.”}

Q: (L) Are you saying that it’s not as far away as they’re saying it is?

A: Yes.

Q: (L) What is it representing? What is it doing?

A: The wave has begun in earnest!

Q: (L) What do you mean?

A: Energy is pouring into your universe from higher densities.
 
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