Scientists have a firm belief that there are millions of planets in our neighboring, Andromeda Galaxy. However, they have only identified one so far, named PA-99-N2, due to a microlensing event in 1999. Therefore, this confirmation makes it the very first extragalactic planet.

Finding planets in space is challenging because they don’t emit their own light. Our technology allows us to find lots of exoplanets in our galaxy. As technology gets better, astronomers might find exoplanets outside our galaxy. In 2010, they found a Jupiter-sized planet in the Andromeda Galaxy and called it HIP 13044 b.

PA-99-N2 vs Jupiter: Let’s Know the Differences & Similarities:

Researchers have found that PA-99-N2 is about 6.34 times the mass of Jupiter, which is roughly 2015.5 times the mass of Earth.
To figure out if life could exist on this planet, we must check if it’s in the “Goldilocks zone” of its star system.

The Evidence of Exoplanets in Andromeda Galaxy:

The habitable zone is like a cosmic sweet spot where a planet has the perfect conditions for liquid water, which is vital for life.

Now, here’s the catch: Andromeda, our distant space neighbor, is so far away that astronomers struggle to gather enough info about its stars and planets. It’s like trying to see something tiny from a very, very long distance.

In simple terms, because of the enormous cosmic gap, scientists can’t determine how many planets exist in the Andromeda galaxy.
It’s a bit like counting stars in the night sky with the lights turned off – a real challenge! As time goes on, scientists will probably create advanced tools to find and study new exoplanets not just in the Andromeda Galaxy but also in distant regions of space.

How Scientists Discovers Such Distant Exoplanets & Stars?

To locate planets in distant galaxies, advanced data processing algorithms are employed. These algorithms work diligently to detect even the tiniest changes in areas as small as a single pixel. Because of the huge distances involved, scientists haven’t been able to show us clear pictures of planets or exoplanets, such as PA-99-N2 faraway places. But they’re not giving up! They’re still on the hunt for life on other planets and finding new planets, keeping our dreams alive for more knowledge in the future.

One exciting possibility is a planet that’s about 6.34 times as massive as Jupiter. If they confirm its existence, it would be a groundbreaking discovery: the first known planet in a different galaxy.

The Twin Quasar Event in History!

A similar occurrence took place in 1996 when a group of astronomers detected an unusual fluctuation in the light curve of the Twin Quasar. This fluctuation appeared to be caused by a planet roughly three times the mass of Earth within the lensing galaxy YGKOW G1. However, the validity of these findings remains uncertain because the fortuitous alignment that led to its identification is unlikely to occur again.
If they confirm PA-99-N2 exoplanet, it would set a mind-blowing record as the farthest known planet which is 4 billion light-years away.

Is PA-99-N2 a planet?

Its discovery was initiated by a microlensing event in 1999, yet astronomers are currently in the process of verifying its existence. Locating planets in the expansive realm of space poses a significant challenge.

How big is PA-99-N2 compared to Earth?

Researchers have stated the mass of the PA-99-N2 to be about 6.34 Jupiter masses. That amounts as 2015.5 to the Earth masses.

Does PA-99-N2 have moons?

In Andromeda, there’s a planet called PA-99-N2 D, orbiting another planet called PA-99-N2, but it’s farther from the center. This planet is either a blue gas giant or an ice giant and has a set of rings that don’t line up and two moons.

What star does PA-99-N2 orbit?

PA-99-N2 b is a planet in another galaxy, Andromeda, that orbits the red giant star PA-99-N2.

Where is PA-99-N2?

PA-99-N2 is a red giant star in the Andromeda Galaxy, located incredibly far away from Earth at about 2,185,247 light-years (or 670,000 parsecs).

Is PA-99-N2 bigger than Jupiter?

In 1999, a microlensing event called PA-99-N2 occurred. It is providing an opportunity to find the first exoplanet. The one having a mass 6.34 times that of Jupiter outside our Milky Way galaxy.

How did Andromeda Galaxy get its name?

The most remarkable aspect of our night sky is the grand Andromeda Galaxy. It is one of the closest galaxies to Earth. And one of the rare galaxies that can be seen without telescopic assistance. Besides this, Andromeda gets its name from the princess of Ethiopia, whom the hero Perseus saved from being sacrificed to the sea monster Cetus, according to Greek mythology.

Some Crisp Facts About Andromeda Galaxy:

One more galaxy you should be aware of, besides our Milky Way, is the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s actually the closest galaxy to us. It’s worth noting that the universe boasts around two trillion galaxies in total. The Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.5 million light-years away from us. Astronomers are really curious about the Andromeda Galaxy because it’s our close space neighbor. Let’s dive into what we know about planets in Andromeda. Similar to our Milky Way Galaxy having the Solar System, the Andromeda Galaxy also harbors many intriguing celestial wonders.


Looking far into space to analyze early universe timeline means peering back in time. The more distant the object, the earlier we see the Universe’s history. This is a way to see what the Universe was like shortly after the Big Bang.

Einstein’s theory of relativity and Time’s slower movement

Albert Einstein’s famous theory, the general theory of relativity, suggests that time appeared to move slower back in those early days of the Universe compared to now. Getting a peek at this slower Universe of the past was challenging. But scientists say they’ve done it by observing intense black hole entities known as quasars.

“When we gaze back to when the Universe was just over a billion years old, time seems to be moving at a pace five times slower,” says Professor Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney, who guided the study.

“If you were in that young Universe, one second would feel like one second. But from our perspective, over 12 billion years later, time back then appears to be in slow motion.”

The scientific journal Nature Astronomy has reported on this study. The research group analyzed data from nearly 200 quasars to draw their findings about early universe timeline. These objects are black holes situated at the core of extremely lively galaxies.

“Einstein taught us that space and time are linked. Since the Big Bang, the birth of time, the Universe has been expanding,” says Professor Lewis.

From the Big Bang to now, this picture shows how the Universe has grown.
Credit: Andreus / iStock / Getty Images Plus

As space expands, our observations of the early Universe should reveal time moving slower than now. In this paper, we’ve demonstrated that looking back to about a billion years after the Big Bang, In the past, astronomers could glimpse the slower Universe up to around half of its current age by studying supernovae, explosive endings of big stars.

Supernova analyzing early Universe timeline

These events can serve as “standard clocks” to show that time ran slower in the early Universe. But by observing quasars, scientists have witnessed slow motion dating back to just a tenth of the Universe’s age.

Professor Lewis explains,

“Supernovae are like single flashes of light, making them easy to study. Quasars, however, are more complex, like a continuous firework display.”

We’ve managed to understand this firework display, proving that quasars can also be used as time markers for the early Universe.”

A Hubble Space Telescope photograph of two 3-billion-year-old quasars. Dual quasar J0749+2255 is inside colliding galaxies.
Credit: NASA, ESA, Yu-Ching Chen (UIUC), Hsiang-Chih Hwang (IAS), Nadia Zakamska (JHU), Yue Shen (UIUC)

Collaborative discovery regarding early Univesre timeline

Professor Lewis and Dr. Brendon Brewer from the University of Auckland collaborated on the discovery concerning early Universe timeline. They examined data from a large group of quasars collected over two decades. By combining measurements taken at different light wavelengths, they could determine how each quasar “ticked.” Then, they compared the expected behavior of the quasars with their actual conduct. This helped them use each quasar’s ticking to track the expansion of the Universe.

“Thanks to this rich data, we were able to map out how the quasar clocks tick, revealing how space changes,” says Professor Lewis.

In the past, there were debates about whether quasars were cosmological objects or if the concept of an expanding universe or early universe timeline was genuine. But, with this new data and analysis, they discovered the quasars’ elusive tick, and they behave exactly as predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Astronomers frequently use numerous telescopes to observe things in space like sonifications. Each telescope adds its information to whatever is being examined because it can all detect distinct kinds of light.

Sonifications release in Astronomy

Similarly, sonification is helpful in converting digital data into sound. In some ways, this is akin to how different musical scale notes can be performed in unison to produce harmonies that are impractical to achieve with only one note. NASA has been creating “sonification” of astronomical data of space objects during the last few years. This initiative converts the digital data that its telescopes in orbit have collected—the majority of which is undetectable to our unassisted eyes—into musical notes and sounds so that they can be heard rather than seen.

Sonifications to Explore Stellar System

These sonifications use the Chandra X-ray Observatory, James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope of NASA to portray specific light wavelengths through layers of sound. R Aquarii (above). Two stars, a white dwarf and a red giant, are in close orbit in the stellar system known as R Aquarii. Hubble data (red and blue) in a composite visual image show stunning features that are proof of explosions produced by the two stars buried in the image’s core. Chandra’s X-rays demonstrate a jet from the white dwarf striking the surrounding material and generating shock waves.

In the sonification of R Aquarii, the composition develops as a clockwise, 12-hour scan of the image akin to that of radar. In both Hubble’s visible light and Chandra’s X-ray images, the volume varies in proportion to the brightness of the sources, while the distance from the center determines the musical pitch (higher notes are present). “Diffraction spikes,” which are leftovers from the core star’s brilliant glow, are the loud thumps that can be heard in the corners of the image.

The white dwarf’s jets may be heard owing to sonifications as the cursor moves close to the two and eight o’clock positions. Hubble’s ribbon-like arcs produce a rising and falling tune that resembles a set of singing bowls (metal bowls that emit various tones when pounded with a mallet), whereas Chandra’s data are produced with a sound that is more akin to a windy purr.

Sonifying the Steffan of Quintet

In Stephan’s Quintet, a fifth galaxy appears in the picture but is considerably farther away. Four galaxies orbit one another while being kept together by gravity. Infrared light from the JWST (red, orange, yellow, green, and blue) is combined with additional information from the Spitzer Space Telescope (red, green, and blue) and X-ray light from Chandra (light blue) to create a visual representation of Stephan’s Quintet. These data are sonified, starting at the top and moving down the image.

The pitch varies the brightness in various ways as the pointer advances. The stars in the foreground and background of the visual imagery Webb discovers are translated to various notes on a synthetic glass marimba. Stars with diffraction spikes are used as crash symbols in the meantime. The galaxies of Stephan’s Quintet can be heard as they pass over in the scan as smoothly changing frequencies all due to sonifications. A synthetic string sound represents the X-rays from Chandra, which show a shock wave that has superheated gas to tens of millions of degrees.

Sonifications of Dusty Galaxy

Messier 104 (abbreviated M104) is one of the largest galaxies in the neighboring Virgo cluster, located around 28 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy is almost edge-on as seen from Earth, providing a view of its brilliant center and the spiral arms that encircle it. Hubble’s optical light image of M104 is obscured by dust, but Spitzer’s infrared scan of the galaxy reveals a ring of dust encircling the galaxy. Within the dust ring, Spitzer also detects a disk of stars that were previously invisible.

The Chandra X-ray image displays hot gas in the galaxy and point sources in the background that are a combination of objects in M104 and quasars. Diffuse X-ray emission can be seen more than 60,000 light years away from the M104’s center, according to Chandra measurements. (The galaxy’s diameter is 50,000 light years.) We can listen to each form of light independently or all at once by sonifying these data. Either method scans the image from top to bottom, starting at the top.

The loudest and highest frequencies are produced by the sources that are brightest in the image because brightness influences both volume and pitch. Different types of sounds are assigned to the data from the three telescopes. Chandra’s X-rays have a synthesizer-like sound, Spitzer’s infrared data are like strings, and Hubble’s optical light has bell-like tones. The sonification of these data reveals the galaxy’s nucleus, its spiral arms and dust lanes, as well as point-like X-ray sources.

CXC and NASA behind Sonification


The Chandra X-ray Center (CXC) was in charge of these sonifications, which were a part of NASA’s Universe of Learning (UoL) initiative. Kimberly Arcand, a visualization scientist at CXC, Matt Russo, an astrophysicist, and Andrew Santaguida, a musician with the SYSTEM Sounds project, were the driving forces behind the collaboration.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center oversees the Chandra program for sonifications, with the management of scientific endeavors falling under the purview of the Chandra X-ray Center located at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Meanwhile, flight operations are administered in Burlington, Massachusetts.

The research that formed the basis of NASA’s Universe of Learning resources was supported by the agency through cooperative agreement grant number NNX16AC65A given to the Space Telescope Science Institute, which collaborated with Caltech/IPAC, the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


The image of an Irregular Galaxy captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope unveils the captivating galaxy NGC 7292, adorned with a handful of luminous stars and the ethereal blurs of galaxies situated in the distant backdrop.

hubble ngc7292

Irregular Galaxy Shows the Picture of Vastness of the Nature

The celestial beauty known as NGC 7292, nestled within the frame of this picture, stands as a testament to the vastness of our universe. Unlike its spiral counterparts, NGC 7292 defies convention with its unique morphology.

Its core gracefully extends, forming a distinctive bar-shaped structure that sets it apart.

Moreover, NGC 7292 exudes an intriguing dimness, earning the epithet of a low surface brightness galaxy.

Such galaxies, dominated by interstellar gas and enigmatic dark matter, often play host to stellar mysteries yet to be fully unraveled.

Hubble Captured Irregular Galaxies

Guided by their insatiable thirst for knowledge, astronomers directed the Hubble telescope toward NGC 7292.

This endeavor was part of a comprehensive observational program delving into the aftermath of Type II supernovae to unravel their intriguing diversities.

These cataclysmic events occur when massive stars, having exhausted their nuclear fuel, collapse, only to violently rebound in a brilliant explosion that tears the stellar fabric asunder.

Among the many celestial phenomena that have graced NGC 7292, one event stands out in astronomical annals—SN 1964H. Discovered by keen-eyed scientists in 1964, this supernova is a remarkable milestone in our quest to comprehend the cosmos.

By scrutinizing the surrounding stellar companions of SN 1964H, astrophysicists can glean insights into the star’s magnitude before its cataclysmic demise.

Furthermore, these meticulous observations promise to unveil other remnants of stellar companions that once shared a celestial dance with the progenitor of SN 1964H.

Why is Irregular Galaxy Called So?

Any galaxy that does not easily conform to the categories outlined in the Hubble classification scheme is called an irregular galaxy.

These galaxies lack a distinct shape or structure, and they may have originated from collisions, encounters with other galaxies, or intense internal disturbances.

What are the Main Parts of an Irregular Galaxy?

A disk is present in irregular galaxies, but spiral arms are absent.

Nonetheless, these galaxies exhibit a blend of both mature and youthful stars alongside abundant gas and dust.

How Many Stars Are in Irregular Galaxy?

A disk is present in irregular galaxies, but spiral arms are absent. Nonetheless, these galaxies exhibit a blend of both mature and youthful stars alongside abundant gas and dust.

What is the Best Known Irregular galaxy?

The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, commonly called LMC and SMC, respectively, are among the most recognizable irregular galaxies.

These galaxies can be seen as compact luminous clouds in the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky, even without the aid of telescopes.

What are irregular galaxies filled with?

Like spiral galaxies, irregular galaxies frequently contain substantial amounts of gas, dust, and numerous vibrant young stars.

Approximately 20% of galaxies nearby are classified as irregular galaxies. On the other hand, quasars are concentrated regions situated at the galaxy’s core, emitting tremendous levels of energy.


The gas between stars and galaxies was non-transparent in the early universe, and intense starlight could not penetrate it.

However, 1 billion years after the great bang, the gas was entirely transparent.

But what could be the possible reason for the gas being non-opaque?

Why Were the Galaxies in the Early Universe Not Transparent?

The explanation is that the stars in the galaxies emitted enough light to heat and ionize the gas around them, enhancing our collective understanding over hundreds of millions of years, according to new data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.

The Understanding of Early Universe Cosmology:

The findings, from a research team led by Simon Lilly of ETH ZüriEach in Switzerland, are the most recent insights into the Era of Reionization, an era when the universe underwent profound changes. The universe’s gas was extremely hot and dense after the big bang.
The gas-cooled over hundreds of millions of years. The universe then pressed “repeat.” The gas grew hot and ionized again, most likely because of the birth of early stars in galaxies, and became transparent over millions of years.

How Big These Galaxies Are?

Researchers have been looking for definitive evidence to explain these shifts for a long time. The latest findings effectively lift the lid on the end of this reionization era.

Daichi Kashino, lead author of the team’s first publication from Nagoya University in Japan.

“Not only does Webb clearly show that these transparent regions are found around galaxies in the early universe, but we’ve also measured how large they are,”

He also added, emphasized, and praised the findings of the James Webb Telescope.

“We’re seeing galaxies reionize the gas around them using Webb’s data.”

In comparison to galaxies, these patches of clear gas are enormous. Just imagine a hot air balloon with a pea dangling inside.

Early Universe Timeline by Webb’s Observations

Webb’s observations suggest that these small galaxies played a role in reionization by clearing large areas of space surrounding them. These translucent “bubbles” grew larger and larger over the next hundred million years, finally combining and causing the entire cosmos to become transparent.

Early Universe
More than 13 billion years ago, during the Era of Reionization, the universe was a very different place. The gas between galaxies was largely opaque to energetic light, making it difficult to observe young galaxies. What allowed the universe to become completely ionized, leading to the “clear” conditions detected in much of the universe today? Researchers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope found that galaxies are overwhelmingly responsible. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, Joyce Kang (STScI)

Stars and Their Composition

The quasar’s light was either absorbed by opaque gas or traveled freely through transparent gas as it proceeded toward us through successive regions of gas.

Webb’s data was combined with views of the center quasar from the W. M.

The Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, the Keck Observatory in Hawaii, the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, and others.

This was noted by Anna-Christina Eilers, lead author of another team publication.

“By illuminating gas along our line of sight, the quasar gives us extensive information about the composition and state of the gas,”

James Webb Telescope to Locate Transparent Galaxies

The researchers next used Webb to locate galaxies near this line of sight, revealing that the galaxies are generally surrounded by transparent zones with a radius of 2 million light-years.

In other words, toward the conclusion of the Reionization Era, Webb watched galaxies cleaning the space around them.

To put this in context, the area cleared by these galaxies is roughly the same as the distance between our Milky Way galaxy and its nearest neighbor, Andromeda.

What Caused Reionization of Galaxies in the Early Universe?

Researchers didn’t have this definitive evidence of what caused reionization until now -before Webb, they weren’t sure exactly what was to blame.

Now, here arises a question. How do these galaxies appear?

“They are more chaotic than those in the nearby universe,”

Jorryt Matthee, another ETH Zürich researcher and main author of the team’s second article, noted.

“Webb demonstrates that they were actively forming stars and must have emitted many supernovae. They had an exciting childhood!”

Eilers utilized Webb’s data along the way to determine that the black hole in the quasar at the heart of this field is the most massive known in the early universe, weighing 10 billion times the mass of the Sun.

“We still don’t know how quasars grew so large so early in the history of the universe,”

She also explained,

“That’s yet another puzzle to solve!”

Webb’s excellent photos also revealed no evidence that the quasar’s light had been gravitationally lensed, guaranteeing that the mass estimations are accurate.

images of galaxies
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has returned extraordinarily detailed near-infrared images of galaxies that existed when the universe was only 900 million years old, including never-before-seen structures. These distant galaxies are clumpy, often elongated, and are actively forming stars. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, Simon Lilly (ETH Zürich), Daichi Kashino (Nagoya University), Jorryt Matthee (ETH Zürich), Christina Eilers (MIT), Rob Simcoe (MIT), Rongmon Bordoloi (NCSU), Ruari Mackenzie (ETH Zürich); Image Processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI), Ruari Macke

Further Studies on Galaxies in Other Fields

The researchers will shortly begin a study on galaxies in five other fields, each of which will be anchored by a core quasar.

Webb’s findings from the first field were so evident that they couldn’t wait to discuss them.

“We expected to find a few dozen galaxies that existed during the Reionization Era, but we easily found 117,”

Kashino revealed.

“Webb has exceeded all of our expectations.”

Early Universe Picture From Near Infrared Camera

Lilly’s research team, the Emission-line galaxies and Intergalactic Gas in the Epoch of Reionization (EIGER) have demonstrated the unique power of combining conventional images from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) With data from the same instrument’s wide-field slitless spectroscopy mode gives a spectrum of every object in the images – turning Webb into what the team calls a “spectacular spectroscopic redshift machine.”

Team’s First Publications:

The team’s first publications include “EIGER I. a large sample of [O iii]-emitting galaxies at 5.3 z 6.9 and direct evidence for local reionization by galaxies,” led by Kashino,

“EIGER II. first, spectroscopic characterization of the young stars and ionized gas associated with strong H and [OIII] line-emission in galaxies at z = 5

As astronomers ventured into the depths of a hungry black hole, their gaze unveiled a remarkable sight—a fierce surge of X-rays erupting from it, boasting a temperature a staggering 60,000 times hotter than the surface of our very own sun.

What are Quasars? Are They Hungary Black Hole?

Quasars are black holes that emit dazzling, energetic electromagnetic radiation jets from both sides when they consume the gases at the center of galaxies.

The team’s X-ray photograph of a quasar known as SMSS J114447.77-430859.3 (J1144), is the most brilliant such object to have been spotted in the last 9 billion years of cosmic history.

This amazing quasar radiates with intensity beyond our wildest dreams, outshining the sun’s brightness by an astounding factor of 100,000 billion. If you gaze upon the night sky amidst the celestial dance of Centaurus and Hydra, you may catch a glimpse of this celestial wonder, although it resides a mind-boggling distance of 9.6 billion light-years away.

Hungary Black Hole & Their Effects on Passing Stars:

The combined light from all the stars of the galaxies they are located in is frequently eclipsed by quasars like J1144 because they are so bright. They serve as instances of so-called active galactic nuclei (AGN), which are only discovered in the early cosmos and at great distances from Earth.

Astronomers may gain a thorough understanding of these potent cosmic occurrences, hungry black hole and the impact they have on their galaxy surroundings by studying the quasar.

Quasars are thought to be present in the early cosmos because galaxies at that time were richer in gas and dust, according to scientific theory. They had enough fuel to support dazzling emissions across nearly the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including low-energy radio, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and high-energy X-ray wavelengths, thanks to their center black holes, which could be seen as a source of light.

Recent Research of NASA on Black Hole 2023

SkyMapper Southern Survey (SMSS) first observed J1144 in the visible spectrum in 2022. The team, which was also directed by Ph.D. candidate Zsofi Igo from the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE), combined observations from various space-based observatories to further investigate this finding.

These included the eROSITA instrument of the NASA Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), the ESA XMM-Newton observatory, and the NASA Neil Gehrels Swift observatory.

By utilizing the amalgamation of data at our disposal, we were able to discern an astounding estimation regarding the temperature of the X-rays emanating from the quasars, indicating an astonishing value of approximately 630 million degrees Fahrenheit (350 million degrees Celsius). This is surprisingly startling 60,000 times hotter than the surface temperature of the sun.

What is the Largest Black Hole in 2023?

Additionally, the diligent researchers conducted estimations to unveil the mass of the black hole, ultimately revealing a remarkable finding—a colossal magnitude weighing in at around 10 billion times the mass of our beloved sun. In addition, given how swiftly it devours stuff, J1144’s supermassive black hole is growing at a pace of 100 suns every year. The gas that surrounds this black hole is not all going into it, though.

The researchers found that a little amount of gas is being blasted from the quasar in the form of incredibly strong winds that are supplying a significant amount of energy to the galaxy it is located in.

The scientists also found that J1144 has a characteristic that sets it apart from other quasars: Its X-ray emission changes over just a few Earth days. The fluctuation of its X-rays would typically be on a timeframe of months or even years for a quasar with a black hole this big.

“We were very surprised that no prior X-ray observatory has ever observed this source despite its extreme power,” Kammoun added.

“A new monitoring campaign of this source will start in June this year, which may reveal more surprises from this unique source.”

What is the rarest black hole in the universe?

At the heart of the supergiant elliptical galaxy Abell 1201, located 2.7 billion light years away from Earth, resides a cosmic behemoth. This black hole is of such immense size that it has earned the exceptionally rare classification of an “ultramassive black hole.”

What happens when a hungry black hole devours a star?

Approximately once every 10,000 years, a remarkable phenomenon known as a “tidal disruption event” occurs at the center of a galaxy. During this event, the supermassive black hole at the core tears apart a star that happens to pass by.

This dramatic occurrence of eating star by a hungry black hole happens in an instant, as the immense gravitational pull of the black hole draws in the stellar material, resulting in a powerful emission of radiation.

The universe is vast and complex, and our ability to grasp it is limited by the instruments we have at our disposal. That’s where remarkable space-based observatories like the Spitzer Space Telescope come in – with its advanced infrared capabilities. This telescope allowed us to see the universe in a whole new light. That unlocks secrets that were previously hidden from us. In this blog, we will travel through time to learn about the Spitzer Space Telescope, its accomplishments, and the fantastic discoveries it has aided in.

But firstly we should know that,

What is the Spitzer Space Telescope?

This spacecraft was launched on August 25, 2003, at 5:35 AM. It aimed to study the cosmos in a completely different light. Orbiting at a height of 568 km and moving at a speed of 0.4741 km/s, Spitzer was a revolutionary piece of technology that gave us a new perspective on space. At $720 million, this project marked a significant investment for space travel in the future.

NASA launched the Spitzer Space Telescope as part of the Great Observatories Program, which included other space-based observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope, Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. While those telescopes focused on visible light, gamma rays, and X-rays, respectively. The Spitzer was designed to detect infrared radiation, which is primarily heat radiation. This allowed it to observe objects in the universe that were too cool or obscured by dust to be seen with optical telescopes.

Spitzer Space Telescope
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech


What was the use of the Spitzer Space Telescope?

The Spitzer Space Telescope was an essential tool when studying the cosmos in infrared light. Its primary function was to detect infrared radiation, mainly heat. Spitzer’s sensitive detectors have helped astronomers learn more about distant and hidden regions of the cosmos. Such as dusty stellar nurseries, the centers of galaxies, and newly forming planetary systems.

Using Spitzer’s infrared vision, astronomers have studied inaccessible phenomena. Such as failed stars (brown dwarfs), extrasolar planets, gigantic molecular clouds, and organic chemicals that could be the key to life on other worlds. As a whole, the Spitzer Space Telescope is crucial in solving cosmic puzzles.

Here is the important thing to note;

Is the Spitzer telescope still in space?

Yes, the Spitzer telescope is still in space but no longer operational. The Spitzer telescope lasted in the cold phase for about 16 years. The Spitzer Space Telescope, which NASA launched in 2003, was the most sensitive infrared space telescope ever built at the time of its launch. During its 16 years of existence, it fundamentally altered our understanding of the cosmos.

The associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington is “Thomas Zurbuchen”. He says: “Spitzer has taught us about entirely new aspects of the cosmos and taken us many steps further in understanding how the universe works. It addresses questions about our origins and whether or not are we alone”.  Moreover, he said: “This Great Observatory has also identified some important and new questions and tantalizing objects for further study, mapping a path for future investigations to follow. Its immense impact on science certainly will last well beyond the end of its mission.”


What makes the Spitzer Space Telescope unique?

The Spitzer Space Telescope was unique for various reasons. One of the most remarkable features of Spitzer was its ability to detect infrared radiation. It allowed it to study cosmic regions hidden from optical telescopes. The Spitzer telescope also had a large mirror that measured 33 inches (85 cm) in diameter, which made it the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space.

Furthermore, Spitzer was the final mission in NASA’s Great Observatories Program – a family of four space-based observatories, each observing the Universe in a different kind of light. The program also includes the visible-light Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), and Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO). Spitzer was also unique because of its cryogenic telescope assembly, which contained the telescope and Spitzer’s three scientific instruments.

Here is to understand,

What can the Spitzer telescope see that others Cannot?

The Spitzer Space Telescope was capable of seeing cosmic regions that are hidden from optical telescopes. It could detect infrared radiation, which allowed it to study cooler objects in space, such as failed stars (brown dwarfs), extrasolar planets, giant molecular clouds, and organic molecules that may hold the secret to life on other planets. Spitzer also studied the centers of galaxies and newly forming planetary systems, which are difficult to observe with optical telescopes.

Spitzer’s ability to see the Universe in a different kind of light than optical telescopes allows astronomers to study the Universe in previously impossible ways. Overall, Spitzer’s unique capabilities made it an essential tool for understanding the Universe.

What are the Discoveries of the Spitzer space telescope?

The spitzer space telescope has helped in knowing the universe better than ever. Some of its major discoveries are:

  • Spitzer detects heat radiation and infrared light. Scientists used Spitzer data to create the first exoplanet “weather map” in May 2009. This exoplanet weather map showed temperature changes on HD 189733b, a massive gas planet. The scientists also found roaring winds in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • Infrared light usually penetrates gas and dust clouds better than visible light. Hence, Spitzer has shown star-birthing zones. Spitzer captured young stars emerging from the Rho Ophiuchi dark cloud. Astronomers call this cloud “Rho Oph.” The nebula is 410 light-years from Earth, near Scorpius and Ophiuchus.
  • Spitzer found COSMOS-AzTEC3 in 2011. This set of galaxies’ light reached Earth after 12 billion years. Scientists believe proto-clusters like this one evolved into modern galaxy clusters. COSMOS-AzTEC3 was the furthest proto-cluster ever found. It helps researchers understand how galaxies started and evolved.
  • Spitzer was the first telescope capable of directly identifying chemicals in the atmospheres of exoplanets back in 2007. Chemical compounds in two gas exoplanets were identified using spectroscopy. These gas-based “hot Jupiters,” HD 209458b and HD 189733b, orbit closer to their suns than our solar system’s gas planets. Directly studying exoplanet atmospheres could lead to the discovery of life on rocky worlds. This artist’s rendering depicts a heated Jupiter.
  • Supermassive black holes reside in most galaxies. Spitzer found two of the most distant supermassive black holes, revealing galaxy formation history. Quasars are black holes with discs. Spitzer found two quasars that emerged less than 1 billion years after the cosmos. Their light took 13 billion years to reach Earth.


Let’s conclude this discussion:

Scientists initially designed the Spitzer Space Telescope for a short mission. But it exceeded expectations and continued to operate for over a decade. In January 2020, NASA announced that it was retiring the Spitzer Space Telescope due to its aging hardware and limited remaining capabilities. However, the Spitzer Space Telescope legacy will live on through countless discoveries. As it helped make the new avenues of research it opened up. The Spitzer mission will live on through its science.


Published by: Sky Headlines

On February 28, 2023, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission tweeted about its latest observation of a galaxy, which included three separate photos. The JWST’s capacity to capture such breathtaking imagery continuously amazes and captivates both scientists and space enthusiasts.

JWST captures Supernova in Gravitational Lens
Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, P. Kelly

How does the JWST take three photographs of the same object at the same time?

This is done through gravitational lensing, when a large celestial body bends or twists light.  This happens most often around stars like our Sun, but it can also occur around extremely distant, enormous galaxies. The gravitational lens of RX J2129 bends and splits light from a supernova-hosting galaxy into three pictures.

As a result of the galaxy cluster RX J2129 distorting and bending its light, a supernova-containing galaxy appears in three distinct images. About 3,2 billion light-years from Earth is where you’ll find this cluster of galaxies. Because light had to travel different distances to generate each image, astronomers have determined that the images all seem different because of their different ages and characteristics.

Type IA supernova!

Astronomers say that the earliest photograph of the potential supernova, AT 2002riv is a Type IA supernova. Two similar lines on either side of it provide supporting evidence for this claim. When we took another picture of the faraway galaxy 320 and 1000 days later, we found that the supernova was no longer visible. The brightness of type IA supernovae is useful for determining huge cosmic distances.

The European Space Agency explains: “The almost uniform luminosity of a Type IA supernova could also allow astronomers to understand how strongly the galaxy cluster RX J2129 is magnifying background objects, and therefore how massive the galaxy cluster is,” It continues: “As well as distorting the images of background objects, gravitational lenses can cause distant objects to appear much brighter than they would otherwise. If the gravitational lens magnifies something with a known brightness, such as a Type IA supernova, then astronomers can use this to measure the ‘prescription’ of the gravitational lens.”

Gravitational Lens
Credit: NASA, ESA & L. Calcada

Gravitational lensing!

Gravitational lensing is when a massive celestial body’s gravitational force causes distant object’s light to appear bent or distorted from a specific angle. This creates a cosmic lens that enables astronomers to see objects located behind the massive object. As it passed through RX J2129. the light from a galaxy with a supernova bent and split into three images.

In 1979, gravitational lensing split light from a distant object, proving Einstein’s general relativity theory. Gravitational microlensing finds exoplanets, while this effect studies supernovae. In 1979, the JWST captured two quasars that had been gravitationally lensed.  JWST’s gravitational lensing will reveal how many supernovae and other insights it finds. This justifies the persistence of scientific investigation.


Published by: Sky Headlines

Using the Event Horizon Telescope, astronomers have captured an image of a quasar (bright structure at the galaxies’ cores) at the Centre of a faraway galaxy that emits vast amounts of light fueled by a feeding supermassive black hole.

Such stunning phenomena, which can generate more energy than all the stars in their parent galaxy put together, are commonly referred to as the “central engines” of active galaxies. Nonetheless, the science behind their strong behavior is still remain unclear by scientists.

Observing NRAO 530:

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) recently took an image of a quasar at the centre of the galaxy NRAO 530. The EHT is well known for capturing the first image of a black hole in 2019. In May 2022, the EHT collaboration team will take an image of Sagittarius A (Sgr A), the supermassive black hole at the centre of our own Milky Way galaxy, as a follow-up to their image of the supermassive black hole at the centre of galaxy Messier 87 (M87).

Horizon Telescope spots Super bright black hole
Image credit: Astrophysical Journal

But, the recently reported observation is unique since it was made in April 2017 while the space-based telescope was viewing NRAO 530 to calibrate in advance of observing the black hole at the centre of our galaxy.

“It’s also the most distant object that we have imaged with the EHT so far,”
Maciek Wielgus, a scientist at the Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and member of the EHT collaboration team, issued the following statement: “The light that we see traveled toward Earth for 7.5 billion years through the expanding universe, but with the power of the Event Horizon Telescope we see the details of the source structure on a scale as small as a single light-year.”

Black holes brighten their galaxies:

It may seem odd that black holes can fuel such a bright spectacle. They absorb light behind an event horizon. The strong gravitational pull from central black holes accelerates material to near-light speed. Quasars generate radiation by heating material. Black holes can be millions or billions of times more massive than the sun. As a result, quasars experience a dramatic increase in brightness, however, this isn’t their only source of radiation.

These black holes absorb their surroundings, but not everything is sucked into their vortex and out through the event horizon. Particles in quasars are similarly guided to the poles of their supermassive black holes by magnetic fields. From this point, the particles are accelerated to nearly the speed of light and collimated into brilliant, narrow jets. From quasars, these jets may extend for tens of thousands of years. The formation of these jets in the magnetic fields of quasars is a mystery.

The EHT analysis of NRAO 530:

The central quasar of NRAO 530 is also known as a blazar, a type of quasar whose radially jets are clearly aimed towards our planet.

The Event Horizon Telescope analyzed this quasar in polarized and unpolarized light to study the magnetic field structure near the black hole and the deepest region of the jet. This showed a brilliant spot on the jet’s southern end that is linked to its core.

The brightness of this core’s substructure shows that the magnetic field exceeds the jet’s energy.

Horizon Telescope spots Super bright black hole
Image credit: NASA, ESA and J. Olmsted (STScI)

The jet also has two right-angled and parallel characteristics. The team concluded the jet’s magnetic field is helical.

“The outermost feature has a particularly high degree of linear polarization, suggestive of a very well-ordered magnetic field,” Svetlana Jorstad, a senior scientist at Boston University and member of the EHT collaboration team, made the claim.

The quasar will be studied further by the Event Horizon Telescope team. The purpose is to learn more about the evolution of the innermost jet features. They also want to understand the relation of the jet features to the generation of high-energy photons.

Published by: Sky Headlines