NASA has found an active galaxy far, far away that looks eerily reminiscent of a TIE fighter from “Star Wars.”

The galaxy, known as TXS 0128+554, is 500 million light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. TXS 0128+554 is considered an active galaxy, as it emits more light than all of its stars together. In 2015, researchers found TXS 0128+554 was a “faint source of gamma rays,” but it wasn’t until recently that they went in for a closer look.

“After the Fermi announcement, we zoomed in a million times closer on the galaxy using the [Very Long Baseline Array’s] radio antennas and charted its shape over time,” said Purdue University professor and study lead author Matthew Lister in a statement. “The first time I saw the results, I immediately thought it looked like Darth Vader’s TIE fighter spacecraft from ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.’ That was a fun surprise, but its appearance at different radio frequencies also helped us learn more about how active galaxies can change dramatically on decade time scales.”

TXS 0128+554 has a “supermassive black hole” that is believed to be 1 billion times the sun’s mass, which may provide a reason for the gamma-ray emissions.

The galaxy is also producing two jets, “beams of high-energy particles traveling at nearly the speed of light in opposite directions,” that give it the TIE fighter-like appearance. It’s believed these jets may be producing some of the gamma-ray emissions.

The researchers used NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory to look at the galaxy to get a better idea of what it looks like.

“The real-world universe is three-dimensional, but when we look out into space, we usually only see two dimensions,” study co-author Daniel Homan added. “In this case, we’re lucky because the galaxy is angled in such a way, from our perspective, that the light from the farther lobe travels dozens more light-years to reach us than the light from the nearer one. This means we’re seeing the farther lobe at an earlier point in its evolution.”

In June 2016, exoplanet Kepler-1647 b was discovered 3,700 light-years from Earth. It is part of a double-star system, similar to Luke Skywalker’s planet, Tatooine. Three years later, exoplanet LTT 1445 A b and its three stars were discovered.

Researchers discovered what they described as “the first volcanically active exomoon” in August 2019, a celestial body eerily reminiscent of the tiny, fiery “Star Wars” planet, Mustafar, where Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader.

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Source: https://nypost.com/2020/08/27/nasa-finds-active-star-wars-galaxy-in-deep-space/

World news – US – NASA finds active ‘Star Wars’ galaxy in deep space

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