Sitting about 9.2 billion light-years away from our planet is the great 3C 297 galaxy — containing a quasar or a supermassive black hole pulling in gas at its centre. Now, this distant galaxy has all the makings of being a part of a cluster that can accommodate hundreds or even thousands of galaxies. And yet, the 3C 297 stands by itself, with no companions to ease the loneliness plaguing space.
But before you begin to sympathise with the 3C 297, you must know that this galaxy’s isolation might very well be self-inflicted.
Not long ago, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the International Gemini Observatory spotted this lonely galaxy. And once astronomers got a chance to study it, they found that it was mysteriously all alone –