Markarian 231 is located about 581 million light-years away from Earth, and it was discovered in 1969 as part of a search of galaxies with strong ultraviolet radiation. It is a Type-1 Seyfert galaxy, and it contains the nearest known quasar. The powerful active galactic nucleus present in the center of the galaxy might be a supermassive binary black hole.
Markarian, Seyfert, quasar, binary black hole, and now, oxygen. UGC 8058 is a special one. You can’t come across it and not pay attention. It is a Markarian galaxy. This means it has a nucleus with excessive amounts of ultraviolet emissions compared with other galaxies.
It is also a Seyfert galaxy. This is one of the two largest groups of active galaxies, along with quasars. It has a quasar-like nucleus with very high surface brightness. Unlike quasars, their host galaxies are clearly detectable.
There seems to be confusion: quasar nucleus versus quasar-like nucleus. This was somehow solved with the idea of the binary black hole. But that’s a big maybe.
The first oxygen emission outside the Milky Way was discovered
A quasar is an extremely luminous active galactic nucleus, in which a supermassive black hole is surrounded by a gaseous accretion disk. Don’t try to make too much sense of it. Scientists are still debating.
But, before they do that, they’ve got yet another reason to research: oxygen emissions. IRAM 30-metre radio telescope in Spain, along with the help of the Northern Extended Millimeter Array, helped astronomers to find evidence of spectral signature of oxygen in Markarian 231. That’s a first in an outer galaxy.
Markarian 231 spites molecules of oxygen as far as 32,615 light-years away from its center. That’s to be understood, given the superpower of the binary black hole, or whatever is there and looks like a supermassive binary black hole.
The study is saying that the central black hole, estimated to be 150 million times the mass of our Sun, has a black hole companion weighing in at 4 million solar masses. And that the two complete an orbit around each other every 1.2 years. But that model has been definitively shown to be unfeasible.