“WISE has exposed a menagerie of hidden objects,” said Hashima Hasan, WISE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, in a statement. “We’ve found an asteroid dancing ahead of Earth in its orbit, the coldest star-like orbs known and now, supermassive black holes and galaxies hiding behind cloaks of dust.”
In addition to the black holes, WISE found “extreme galaxies” called hot DOGs, or dust-obscured galaxies that appear super-bright with infrared light.
WISE scanned the entire sky twice in the infrared spectrum, ending last year. The telescope captured millions of images of the sky, which have all been released to the public.
These latest findings will hopefully allow scientists to better understand how galaxies, and the black holes at their centers, grow and are created.
Some of the black holes found are up to 1 billion times the mass of our sun.
The hot DOG galaxies, many located 10 billion light-years away, pour our more than 100 trillion times as much light as our sun, but they are so obscured by dust that only the longest wavelengths of infrared light can be captured by even sensitive instruments like WISE.
“These dusty, cataclysmically forming galaxies are so rare WISE had to scan the entire sky to find them,” said Peter Eisenhardt, lead author of the paper on the first of these bright, dusty galaxies, and project scientist for WISE at JPL. “We are also seeing evidence that these record setters may have formed their black holes before the bulk of their stars. The ‘eggs’ may have come before the ‘chickens.'”
So far, more than 100 hot DOGS have been confirmed.