Brightest Galaxy 最亮的星系

Amateur Astronomer - - 宇宙奥秘 -

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is bigger and brighter than most others. Its hundreds of billions of stars emit roughly 20 billion times the light of the Sun. But a few rare galaxies make our galactic home seem modest. The brightest galaxy yet seen, for example, is 10,000 times brighter than the entire Milky Way.

我们的星系——银河系比其他星系更大也更亮,数千亿颗恒星释放出了大约200亿倍于太阳的光亮。但是仍有一些星系让我们的银河系相形见绌。比如说,迄今为止见到的最亮的星系就要比整个银河亮10,000倍。

This brilliant galaxy, which is identified only by a catalog name, is in the faint constellation Aquarius, which is low in the southeast at nightfall on these early autumn nights.

这个以编号来命名的最亮星系位于幽暗的宝瓶座。初秋日暮时分,它在东南方天幕低悬。

The galaxy is about 12-and-a-half billion light-years away, so we see it as it was when the universe was just 1.3 billion years old.

这一星系在距离大约125亿光年之外,所以我们看见的是当宇宙只有13亿岁时它的样貌。

The galaxy owes most of its brilliance not to its stars, but to a black hole. A supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center attracts gas. As the gas plunges in, it gets so hot that it radiates profusely. Dust blocks our view of the galaxy, but the dust itself gets heated and emits infrared light. In fact, astronomers discovered the galaxy with an infrared telescope in space.

这一星系之所以能如此闪耀并非因为它的恒星,而是主要归功于黑洞,一个位于星系中心的巨型黑洞。当有气体进入时就会变得非常热,使其辐射增强。尘埃阻挡了我们观察这一星系的视线,但是尘埃本身也被加热并释放出红外光。实际上,天文学家就是通过空间红外望远镜发现这一星系的。 We can’t see what the galaxy looks like today. But it led such an accelerated lifestyle in its youth that it probably blew away much of its gas and converted the rest into stars. As a result, today it may be a dull type of galaxy known as a giant elliptical. If so, then it has no gas, no young stars, and no evidence that it once reigned as one of the brightest galaxies in the cosmos.

我们不知道这一星系如今的样貌,但是当它还很年轻的时候就引领了如此加速的状态,它很可能会将其大部分气体吹跑,并将留下来的那部分转化成了诸多恒星。因而,如今的它很可能成了星系中较昏暗的一类——巨椭圆星系。如果真的是这样,之后它将不再拥有气体,没有年轻的恒星,也没有了它曾经是宇宙中最亮星系的所有痕迹。

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