The brightest-known galaxy is blasting gas out into space — and providing astronomers with a rare glimpse of how extreme galaxies evolve.
Known as W2246-0526, the galaxy is as bright as 350 trillion Suns and is powered by a supermassive black hole at its heart. A team led by Tanio Díaz-Santos at Diego Portales University in Santiago, Chile, used the high-resolution Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile to study carbon ions rushing outwards from the galaxy.
The gas races out at speeds of about 2 million kilometres an hour, violently illuminating the surrounding space. W2246-0526 might be spewing out much of its energy, and could become more tame in the future.