The mystery behind the flickering flame of galaxy Markarian 1018, which has been baffling scientists for the past three decades, has been solved.

Markarian galaxies comprise of nuclei with more amounts of UV emissions in contrast to other galaxies. It was observed that Markarian 1018, which is believed to be an active galaxy, continued brightening and dimming. This pointed towards the galaxy having an active galactic nucleus (AGN).

The light emitted by AGNs can outshine the rays of all the stars present in their galaxy even if they all are grouped together.

Markarian galaxy
Researchers have solved the mystery behind the volatile behavior of a super-massive black hole at the center of a galaxy.NASA

It has been found that the centre of active galaxies have super massive black holes, which make light radiate when materials enter them. Hence, AGNs tend to dim when there is less matter absorbed by them. This is exactly what is happening, as per NASA scientists, who combined the data that they accumulated with the help of Chandra X-ray Observatory, European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope and other observatories.

The cause behind having lesser matter falling into the black hole is still unknown. Some space scientists believe that the presence of another black hole could be a possible reason behind this, which is causing lesser materials to enter the first black hole.

galaxy Markarian 1018
This image from the MUSE instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope shows the active galaxy Markarian 1018, which has a supermassive black hole at its core. The faint loops of light around the galaxy are a result of its interaction and merger with another galaxy in the recent past.ESO/CARS survey

The researchers also guesstimated that the formation of the Markarian 1018 galaxy was caused by collision of two galaxies which had their black holes situated in their centres.

Apart from this, NASA lately conducted a crappy challenge called Space Poop Challenge to help astronauts in shitting without touching it. NASA is willing to pay $30,000 to anyone who comes up with a good enough solution to win this challenge!