Researchers found that the brightest galaxy in the universe is in danger of tearing apart due to turbulence.

The galaxy called W2246-0526 is about 12.4 billion light-years away from Earth. Experts say it is going haywire and that it may eventually lose its star-forming gas.

A team of astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe the actual movements of the gas and dust between the stars of W2246-0526.

Team leader Roberto Assef from the Universidad Diego Portales in Chile explains that every galaxy is created via massive interstellar gas that gives life to new stars. As galaxies age, they lose their ability to form gas and subsequently, new stars.

The big question is how does this happen?

For W2246-0526, the experts found evidence that there is a supermassive black hole at its center that is fully obscured behind thick dust. They also discovered that the galaxy gets its extreme luminosity from a tiny but highly energetic gas disk that orbits and gets superheated as it travels through the black hole.

The said disk is absorbed by the thick dust and re-emits infrared light. According to NASA's previous investigations, the infrared light being emitted by W2246-0526 is comparable to about 350 trillion suns.

"These properties make this object a beast in the infrared," says Assef. He added that the powerful infrared light has a direct and chaotic effect on the entire galaxy, generating high turbulence throughout the interstellar medium.

To come up with their findings, the experts mapped out ionized carbon atoms throughout the galaxy. These atoms trace interstellar gas and produce natural infrared light. As this infrared light travels through the cosmos including the Earth, it shifts into millimeter wavelengths because of the universe's expansion.

"Large amounts of ionized carbon were found in an extremely turbulent dynamic state throughout the galaxy," says co-author Tanio Díaz-Santos. The turbulence may be due to the startling luminosity of the region around the black hole, which is said to be at least 100 times brighter than the rest of the galaxies combined.

Co-author Manuel Aravena says the galaxy may end up shedding a significant amount of its gas and dust if the current trend persists.

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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