ScienceTeenage quasars are all messed up, reveal images from Hubble

Teenage quasars are all messed up, reveal images from Hubble

A new study claims that the teenage years of quasars are all messed up, as pictures from the Hubble Telescope prove. Quasars are the the brightest objects in the universe and belong to the class called active galactic nuclei. Hubble’s infrared vision was able to uncover their formative years which involve chaotic collisions of galaxies feeding ginormous central black holes with gas.

If you want to know just how bright a quasar is, imagine an object capable of giving as much light as 1 trillion stars from a single area of space even smaller than the solar system. The light source is essentially a rush of energy being emitted from extremely massive black holes found right at the cores of far away galaxies. Scientists have been attempting to find out why galaxies begin feeding their central black holes.


Based on the latest images captured by the Hubble Telescope, it has been revealed that the brightest quasars exist in merging galaxies. The pictures depict the transitional phase in the merger-driven black hole scenario. In their teenage years when they happen to be growing quickly, quasars are messed up and unstable owing to the chaotic collisions of galaxies which fuel them as they collide and merge, according to the study.

Eilat Glikman from Middlebury College (Vermont), solved the difficulty of being unable to spot mergers due to the blinding light of quasars, by harnessing Hubble’s sensitivity at near-infrared wavelengths of light. Looking out for dust-reddened quasars which have their light dimmed, allowed the underlying galaxy to be seen. Active galaxies in the formative phase of evolution glow brightly across the electromagnetic spectrum.

This renders them detectable in radio and near-infrared wavelengths. Glikman used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to study the birth of the quasar era which happened 12 billion years ago.

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