Nine years ago a star-gazing school teacher discovered something shocking out in deep space, a huge glowing green blob which looks like something from Star Trek.
Now scientists believe they’ve cracked what causes the blob to glow and it’s even helping researchers understand how black holes affect galaxies.
The blob was named ‘Hanny’s Voorwep’ – which is Dutch for Hanny’s object – and is believed to be 650 million light years from Earth, close to a gas bubble in a distant galaxy.
By observing both Hanny’s Voorwep and the gas bubble researchers have cracked what causes the blob to glow, The Daily Mail reports.
Basically astronomers believe that the blob is a gas outflow from a nearby galaxy which glows emerald because of X-Ray and ultraviolet radiation bursts from a supermassive black hole, or quasar, at the centre of the galaxy.
As the black hole grows though it emits less and less radiation causing a ‘delayed response’ meaning that back in the day glow from the black hole was probably much brighter and will fade over time.
By observing the cloud and the black hole researchers have developed a greater understanding of both quasars and Super-massive black holes.
Hanny’s Voorwep was discovered back in in 2007 by Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel, while she was volunteering in the Galaxy Zoo project.
Nice find Hanny!