Ultra-luminous galaxy with two galactic cores: Arp 220

 

Arp 220, an elliptical galaxy with a supermassive core that may have divided in two

[left image Hubble Telescope photo of Arp 220, right deep optical false color image of Arp 220 taken with the Subaru Telescope operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.]

According to recent research by Christine D. Wilson of McMaster University, Arp 220 is an ultra-luminous galaxy with a very compact nucleus, surrounded by a star-forming region only 3,000 light years across, and having two supermassive black holes separated by only 1,000 light years.  The conventional explanation is that it has formed through the merger of two pre-existing galaxies.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-star-factory-arp.html

Concentrated in this small region, the star formation rate is 200 times that of the Milky Way whose core region is much broader, spanning some 60,000 light years.   Furthermore, this central region is riddled with a large population of what is thought to be relatively young globular star clusters, which would cause this galaxy to appear 50 times brighter than the Milky Way if the core region were not heavily obstructed with gas and dust.  Wilson has noted that globular clusters seem to form mostly in dense gas-rich regions, and others have noted that massive clusters form most efficiently in the most active star-forming systems.  So it does not seem unexpected to find that Arp 220 contains so many young massive globular clusters, molecular gas within just 2500 light years of this galaxy’s cores being concentrated to a surface density similar to that found inside a giant molecular cloud.

http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/641/2/763

http://www.universe-galaxies-stars.com/n-archive_201.html

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Response to the first part of your posting:

I disagree with the interpretation that the two cores in Arp 220 are an example of two galaxies colliding with one another.  Christine Wilson is giving the standard interpretation, which I feel is as far from the truth as one can get.  In reality, we are seeing just the opposite.  We are seeing an example of two cores that are in the act of separating from one another.  Such a core separation phenomenon is predicted by the continuous matter creation cosmology of subquantum kinetics.  I propose that this galaxy initially had a single supermassive galactic core, and that not long ago when the core was in an active quasar-like state it explosively fragmented to form the two cores we see today.  Halton Arp, the discoverer of this galaxy, would most likely agree with this view as he has previously discussed evidence that Arp 220 has been ejecting supermassive quasar bodies from its core; see http://iopscience.iop.org/1538-4357/553/1/L11/pdf/015086.web.pdf.

Observations with the Chandra X-ray telescope show giant lobes of hot gas extending out 75,000 light years from this galaxy and believed to have been ejected by past activity in its nucleus.  See:  http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2002/1181/.  The explosive AGN activity ejecting this gas could have been the same that resulted in the fissioning of Arp 220’s core.  If we figure that this gas was part of an ultra fast outflow that moved outward at an average speed of 0.2 c, this ejection would have begun around 380,000 years ago.  In this period the fissioning cores could have journeyed to their current 1000 light year separation if they have a velocity relative to one another of ~800 km/s projected in the plane of the sky.

I believe we are witnessing a case where a single supermassive core has recently divided into two, somewhat like cell division, but with a lot of energy thrown into the mix.  There aren’t two galaxies here, just one irregular elliptical galaxy, and it is not a very large one.  Its long dimension is about 9,000 light years and it is estimated to have a mass of about 10 billion solar masses.  So basically its size is small enough to fit inside the Milky Way’s galactic bulge.  We might regard it as a medium sized elliptical galaxy (larger than a dwarf elliptical) that is in the process of expelling gas that will one day form its spiral arms.  Hence it is in the process of evolving into a spiral galaxy in the far future.

Each core is surrounded by its own disc of closely bound stars orbiting within a few hundred light years of each core and these are seen to be embedded in a single common disc having a diameter of ~7,000 light years.  If these were two colliding galaxies, as most astronomers claim, we should instead expect to see these cores embedded in two outer discs, not one.  Since we don’t, we are left to conclude that at an earlier date there was just one galaxy and one galactic core, which now has divided into two.  The picture below shows how this disc is laid out.

 

Discs in Arp 220 observed at millimeter wavelengths

From the paper of Sakamoto, et al. 1999

One thing we note here is that the two nuclear discs are seen to be counter rotating with their axes approximately in a parallel-antiparallel alignment.  Now, if these were colliding galaxies, we would have to interpret this as a pure coincidence (if you figure the odds for this particular alignment, they are fairly small).  On the other hand, a single nuclear disc separating into two, due to a central core division, would by necessity have to have this kind of counter rotating alignment for reasons of  conservation of momentum.  That is, the stars orbiting each core on the side nearest to the partner core in each case will necessarily have to be traveling in roughly the same direction; the stars that were initially orbiting the progenitor primary core are not going to pull a U-turn huey in interstellar space to go around the new born twin core in the opposite direction!  Rather, they would take the path of least resistance and simply deflect to go counterclockwise around the partner core instead of clockwise around the primary core.  If the cores were closer in the past, as the ejection scenario suggests, this consideration of the orientation of the velocity vectors in each nuclear disc would have been even more important.  So, seeing the discs with this particular rotational configuration relative to one another is pretty much smoking gun evidence that we are observing core fragments that are separating and not merging galaxies.  Given that our knowledge is limited by the fact that we were not around half a million years ago to see if the cores were closer together or further apart, we are forced to settle for the evidence at hand, and looking at it in an objective fashion leads to the conclusion of separation, not merger.

Also I believe it is wrong to refer to these cores as black holes.  As I have discussed in previous postings, these are better thought of as supermassive mother stars, highly dense, noncollapsed bodies that create matter and energy in their interiors and explosively eject this created matter and energy to their environment.

As you mention, astronomers have found a large number of massive globular star clusters in the immediate vicinity of these cores which contain many massive “young stars” e.g., blue giants, supergiants, Wolf-Rayets, etc.  As I have said before, blue giants and blue supergiants can be old stars if they have formed by growing in mass from formerly less massive stars on the main sequence.  However, they could also be young, in accordance with the conventional assumption, if they have formed recently from gas and dust accretion, which is likely in this case since this region is well stocked with dust and gas.  It is my opinion that the large quantity of gas in Arp 220, which has resulted in the recent formation of these globular clusters, has all been created in these active cores and ejected from them in the past and that none of this was brought into the system by some hypothetical “colliding galaxy”.

Paul LaViolette, March 2, 2012

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(gmagee continued)
A massive outflow of warm hydrogen gas from the core region has been detected. Wilson concludes that the energy source heating this gas must be non-ionizing, and is likely mechanical energy from stellar winds and supernovae. However, she offers no explanation for the source of this mechanical energy.   And recent observations suggest that a hidden AGN is likely present, being necessarily present in order to power the observed luminosity.

Particularly noteworthy, the massive outflow from the core is observed to have a relatively low velocity, and to be unable to escape the central nuclear region of the galaxy.

http://www.mendeley.com/research/observations-arp-220-using-herschelspire-unprecedented-view-molecular-gas-extreme-star-formation-environment/

Given these observations, it seems likely that this is an example of a galaxy whose growing core has developed conditions that greatly accelerate it’s growth over that of a more typical galaxy.  Can this be due to a prior galactic collision which has brought the two cores into close proximity, enhancing the etheric conditions in the central core needed to nucleate new matter?   In any case, it seems that the compact core has ejected so much gas and dust into the immediate core region, which has served as a positive feedback mechanism, to create the conditions for massive outflows and the formation of nearby young star clusters.
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Response to this second part of your posting:

The energy powering the molecular hydrogen gas outflow that Wilson has observed can easily be explained by interstellar gas winds driven outward by cosmic ray volleys (galactic superwaves) emitted in the past by the active core of Arp 220.   Such gas outflows are commonly seen in Seyferts and other active galaxies.  So instead of supposing that these winds originate from stars or supernova explosions, I think a more logical candidate is emission from the active cores in Arp 220.

Again, in my opinion, it is doubtful that we are seeing any kind of galaxy collision here.  This is more likely a core ejection.  Such ejections presuppose the existence of extremely energetic conditions in the parent core for fragmentation to occur.  The energy source is simply the core itself which continually produces genic energy (see subquantum kinetics for an explanation).

Because conventional astrophysicists do not allow themselves to violate the First Law, they invoke accretion onto a black hole as the preferred energy releasing mechanism to explain these outflows and the energetic core activity.  This biases them to interpret this galaxy system as a system in mutual collision.  In fact, there is no evidence to prove that galaxies are colliding.  Astronomers are making this assumption based on convenience.  When the facts are considered more objectively, they favor ejection, not collision.  Consider the observed gas outflow which currently has reached out 75,000 light years which we suggested was expelled by core activity that began about 400,000 years ago.  If we surmised that these galaxies are colliding and that they approach one another at say 800 km/s, then 400,000 years ago when this outburst took place they would have been twice as far apart with far less likelihood of any strong interaction.  Why then would that gas have been emitted if that was the case?  This is an example of some of the loose ends that the collision theory suffers from.

Paul LaViolette, March 2, 2012

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(gmagee continued)

Given the recent observations of massive fast moving outflows from stellar-mass core stars, is it reasonable to assume that the next stage for Arp 220 will be that the outflows will grow in magnitude until one or both cores are laid bare, shutting off star formation in the central region, and leaving the outer portions of each galaxy to locally disperse themselves?   And would this subsequent condition be one type of active galactic nucleus, an isolated galactic core forming the basis for spawning new galaxies nearby, and thereby eventually forming a small cluster of galaxies, such as is seen in the immediate vicinity of  II Zw 096 discussed in this link?

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-spitzer-shrouded-stars.html

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Response to gmagee’s last questions:

The cores do not currently appear to be in their active state since we see a massive molecular hydrogen outflow in this region.  The strong cosmic ray flux emitted from an active galactic nucleus would instead have ionized this gas.  Such activity was likely present hundreds of thousands of years ago when the progenitor supermassive core was in the process of dividing.  However, it is possible that, as these two cores grow in mass, they will eventually enter an active state and produce an intense cosmic ray wind such as is seen in active galactic nuclei.  This could produce a far more powerful outflow that could clear out much of the gas and dust from this inner region to form an outer gas ring similar to that seen in ring galaxies or similar to the molecular ring seen in the Milky Way.  The expulsion of gas from the inner portion of the galaxy would likely shut off star formation there.  But star formation would likely continue in the vicinity of the ring that would form.

According to subquantum kinetics, the core, or cores, could continue their activity for a considerable period of time even with no gas being present in their vicinity since the energy they would be generating would not be due to black hole accretion.  Rather it would be genic, spontaneously generated, due to the supercritical conditions prevailing within them.

As for your last question, yes this type of core fragmentation could result in the formation of a group of satellite galaxies, if the process of core separation and ejection were to be repeated in the future.  Such explosive expulsions could also help generate spiral arms around this parent elliptical, transforming it into a spiral galaxy, or into a larger galaxy having a peculiar shape if its violent outbursts were to continue.

Paul LaViolette  March 2, 2012

Black hole ejecting massive wind?

Chandra has observed a stellar-mass object, which the Chandra team interprets to be a black hole, that mysteriously is ejecting more matter in a massive wind than can be explained by accretion. Moreover, this wind is ejected in a broad orientation at nearly three percent the speed of light, rather than concentrated in jets oriented solely along the poles – which is typically explained via a magnetic acceleration mechanism. Finally, astronomers note that this condition apparently is short-lived, as only two months earlier no such wind was observed from this object.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-chandra-fastest-stellar-mass-black-hole.html

Is there any other possible explanation for the source of this ejected material, other than from within the black hole itself?   If not, would this not kill the notion of the possible existence of black hole singularities? Would not the cyclic nature of this widespread ejection surrounding a black hole preclude any explanation of an accumulator effect, whereby accreted material could somehow be temporarily stored before being ejected in short-term bursts? And must not the observation that up to 95 percent of the ejected material does not originate from the accreted gas, pose a severe problem for astronomers to postulate a mechanism for this ejection?

How is this observation related to superwave theory, where cosmic ray ejections propagate throughout the galaxy? Is this instead not a separate phenomenon that can explain the growth of galaxies from within? Recent observations already noted suggest that star clusters harbor a variety of star types, including ‘young’ hot stars. Is this not further evidence in support of this growth model?

And does Subquantum Kinectics offer any explanation of how this fast-moving gas might be eventually slowed, allowing it to condense into new stars? Numerous tails have been observed from moving stars and galaxies. Is there any friction mechanism over long distances that would explain this phenomenon? Could this not be an explanation of how these tails are formed?
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Responses to your many questions:

Is there any other possible explanation for the source of this ejected material, other than from within the black hole itself?   If not, would this not kill the notion of the possible existence of black hole singularities?

First, this object IGR J17091-3624 is not a black hole, as Chandra astronomers are surmising, and it is very doubtful that this relativistic wind is being powered by any kind of matter infall to this X-ray source.  As explained in the previous posting, it is impossible for black holes to form in nature.  They only form in the minds of physicists and astronomers, a point noted by MIT physics professor Phillip Morrison in his essay “Black Holes of the Mind.”  Perhaps the black hole problem could be solved if the unfortunate victims of this idea were to volunteer themselves to sessions of deep psychotherapy.  I know of one physics professor at Portland State University who had confessed to me during a lecture coffee hour that he suffered from recurring nightmares of a mini black hole passing through his bedroom while he slept and swallowing him up.  (True story.)  Indeed, physicists would sleep easier if they revised their thinking on this subject and read Subquantum Kinetics.

The matter that forms the relativistic wind that is blowing from this source most likely comes from the source itself, not from any hypothetical accretion disc theorized to surround this source.  First, understand that astronomers have not seen any accretion disc around this source; they just assume that it must be there to save themselves the embarrassment of admitting that standard theory cannot explain the immense outpouring of matter and energy from this source.  That is, they know of no other way (within the confines of standard physics) that this source could be powering itself other than through matter infall from an accretion disc.

Given that this source expels gas in all directions at a velocity of ~ 3 percent of the speed of light with a mass loss rate of ~5 X 10-8 Msolar/year, we may conclude that any accretion disc, if it were there, would be quickly swept away, and certainly this wind would prevent any matter from falling inward.  So this leaves astronomers with the embarrassing question of explaining how this source powers its impressive mass outflow.  In terms of wind kinetic energy, this source expels gas with a kinetic energy force similar to that of a Wolf-Rayet star producing a planetary nebula.  Although the mass loss rate is theorized to be less than that of a Wolf-Rayet star (which is ~ 10-6 to 10-5 Msolar/year), its gas velocity is ~10 to 20 times greater.  Hence figuring the v2 difference, we conclude that the wind kinetic energy is of comparable magnitude.  Also in terms of its luminosity, IGR J17091-3624 has an X-ray luminosity comparable to the X-ray luminosity of a Wolf-Rayet star.  Considering that a Wolf-Rayet star does a fairly good job of clearing gas and dust out from its immediate vicinity, we may presume the same for this source.  So, in my opinion things look fairly dismal for interpretating IGR J17091-3624 to be a black hole singularity.

Would not the cyclic nature of this widespread ejection surrounding a black hole preclude any explanation of an accumulator effect, whereby accreted material could somehow be temporarily stored before being ejected in short-term bursts?

Yes, if this is one of a series of outbursts we are witnessing, it is unlikely that the quiescent period would last sufficiently long to allow such a source to accumulate a sufficient quantity of gas and dust to initiate a subsequent outburst.

Must not the observation that up to 95 percent of the ejected material does not originate from the accreted gas, pose a severe problem for astronomers to postulate a mechanism for this ejection?

No, you’re misunderstanding their 95% estimate.  The Chandra team, which surmises that an accretion disc must be present around the source, estimates that 95% of the disc’s matter is being expelled, with the implied assumption that the other 5% is being accreted.  To be realistic, if the wind is strong enough the expel 95% of a disc’s matter (assuming that it were there), it is most likely going to expel 100% of the matter of the presumed disc, leaving pitifully little for accretion.  So, we are forced to conclude that this matter is not coming from an accretion disc, but from the source itself.  This immediately requires us to trash the black hole theory because matter cannot come out of a black hole; it can only fall in.  A more likely explanation for IGR J17091-3624 is that it’s a mother star and that the matter being expelled and energy being radiated from this source is due to matter and energy being continually created in its interior.

How is this observation related to superwave theory, where cosmic ray ejections propagate throughout the galaxy?

Radio synchrotron emission has been detected from the vicinity of IGR J17091-3624, which suggests that this source is emitting high energy cosmic ray electrons.  So in this regard it would be engaging in cosmic ray activity similar to that seen in active galactic nuclei, but on a smaller scale.  Just as active galactic nuclei go through an active phase, followed by a quiescent phase, so too, this source is believed to engage in recurrent outbursts.  Also the supermassive nuclei of active galaxies such as Seyfert galaxies are observed to expel gas at similarly high velocities.  It is unlikely that this source would produce anything close to a superwave since its cosmic ray power output would be far smaller.  Hopefully, with further future observation, astronomers will be able to come up with an estimate of the cosmic ray flux coming from this source.

Is this instead not a separate phenomenon that can explain the growth of galaxies from within?  Recent observations already noted suggest that star clusters harbor a variety of star types, including ‘young’ hot stars.  Is this not further evidence in support of this growth model?

Yes, if we interpret the gas being expelled from this source as evidence that matter has been newly created, this would support the suggestion of subquantum kinetics that stellar core mother stars such as this continually create matter and energy in their interiors.  Much of this matter would be expelled, but the remainder heavier nuclei would be retained by the source leading to a gradual mass growth.

And does Subquantum Kinectics offer any explanation of how this fast-moving gas might be eventually slowed, allowing it to condense into new stars? Numerous tails have been observed from moving stars and galaxies.  Is there any friction mechanism over long distances that would explain this phenomenon?  Could this not be an explanation of how these tails are formed?

As the gas leaves the source it should slow down and attain cooler temperatures, eventually coming to a stop due to interaction with the interstellar medium and magnetic fields.  Perhaps future observations will reveal that gas has accumulated in the immediate vicinity of this source.

Paul LaViolette,  February 23, 2012

First observation of daughter galaxy forming


Using the XMM-Newton X-ray space telescope, astronomers have detected a globular star cluster that lies above the plane of an edge-on spiral galaxy and contains an X-ray source which they believe to be an intermediate-sized black hole (see small circle in above image).  They believe it must have come from a dwarf galaxy that has somehow had all of it’s stars stripped away in the process of being accreted by the spiral galaxy.  They infer from cluster’s colors that a population of hot blue stars must encircle the X-ray source along with a population of cooler redder stars.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-black-hole-shredded-galaxy.html

Is this not an example of a massive core star being ejected from the parent galaxy, which is growing a surrounding cluster of stars as it begins the process of growing into a daughter satellite galaxy?  The presence of the ‘young’ hot stars is consistent with recent observations of ‘blue stragglers’ within ancient star clusters.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-young-stars-home-ancient-cluster.html

And could not the redder colors observed be due in part to the gravitational influence of the 20,000 solar mass core star?
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Response to the questions of gmagee:  The conclusion that this source originated from an incoming dwarf galaxy that has had its stars tidally stripped away is largely incorrect for no stream of stripped away stars is evident in this photo.  As gmagee suggests, this source most likely originated from the core of this galaxy ( ESO 243-49 ) through a matter ejection event.  Such matter creation and ejection is predicted by subquantum kinetics, and the existence of the phenomenon was earlier proposed by astronomers such as Ambartsumian and Arp to explain observations of active galactic nuclei.  So this star cluster may be regarded as a galactic core ejection that will one day grow into a dwarf elliptical daughter galaxy orbiting this spiral.  Evidence that galactic cores eject globular star clusters has been discussed in a previous posting (http://starburstfound.org/sqkblog/?p=271).

Also the conclusion that this 20,000 solar mass X-ray source is a black hole is incorrect.  As discussed in a previous posting (http://starburstfound.org/sqkblog/?p=115), and in the book Subquantum Kinetics, black holes should be unable to form.  Particle scattering experiments have shown that the electric field at the center of the nucleon is bell-shaped, not spiked to an infinite point value.  And, due to electrogravitic coupling, we may assume that its gravity field is similarly bell-shaped.  Hence gravitational singularities are unable to form if there were any collapse.  Anyway the outpouring of genic energy from a massive star prevents any core collapse.  So, this above-plane globular cluster X-ray emitting source is more likely a supermassive mother star of finite diameter, not a black hole singularity.  It would have a very high mass density similar to that of a white dwarf.

The redish color seen in the cluster is not due to gravitational redshifting, but most likely comes from low mass stars in the cluster whose color is typically red.  Such stars continually form and grow in the cluster from gas that is being expelled by the mother star core.  The blue color that is observed comes from more massive and hotter stars such as blue giants, blue supergiants, and Wolf-Rayet stars.  Yes, such “blue stragglers” are seen in other globular clusters such as the nearby cluster NGC 6752 discussed in the link above.  The presence of such blue stars is a mystery for many astronomers because standard theory places their age at only millions of years whereas the red star population is typically believed to have an age of 10 billion years or so as in the case of NGC 6752.  So they wonder why young stars would form in an old cluster.  There is no such problem in the cosmology of subquantum kinetics.  SQK predicts that low mass reddish stars continually grow in size through matter creation and accretion and eventually transform into the more massive blue stars.  So these blue stars are not young, but actually the oldest and most evolved in the cluster.  Such mature bluish stars are also found to surround our own Galaxy’s core.

Paul LaViolette, 2-22-12