Scientists have found green beans in the sky! Ok, not really, but they’ve named a newly discovered type of galaxy “green bean galaxies” because of their unusual appearance.
The whole of the green bean galaxy glows with an intense light that comes from the surroundings of monster black holes that are in the process of switching off, making them some of the rarest objects in the universe.
The green colour comes from the radiation from the black holes, which ionize the oxygen in the galaxy and make it glow green. This phase is fleeting, though, as the huge burst of radiation seems to come from the black hole’s dying gasps — they seem to less active than expected.
They were called “green beans” because they are bigger than previously discovered galaxies named “green peas” which are really bright green because they are undergoing a lot of star-making.
[credit provider=”CFHT/ESO/M. Schirmer” url=”http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1249a/”]
The discovery was made with a collaboration with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, along with the Genmini South telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.The galaxy they discovered is called J224024.1−092748 or J2240. It lies in the constellation of Aquarius and is 3.7 billion light years away.
The ESO described the stunning new galaxy’s discovery in a press release:
Astronomer Mischa Schirmer of the Gemini Observatory had looked at many images of the distant Universe, searching for clusters of galaxies, but when he came across one object in an image from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope he was stunned — it looked like a galaxy, but it was bright green. It was unlike any galaxy he had ever seen before, something totally unexpected. He quickly applied to use ESO’s Very Large Telescope to find out what was creating the unusual green glow.
After the first find, Schirmer discovered 16 more of these green bean galaxies.