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Quasar provides clues about conditions in the early Universe

10 Jul 2018, 14:12 UTC
Quasar provides clues about conditions in the early Universe
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A VLBA image of quasar P352-15 at a distance of 13 billion light years. Three components are visible, one of which marks the location of a super-massive black hole. Image: Momjian, et al.; B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)
Astronomers using the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope have captured an image of a powerful radio quasar shining at the dawn of the Universe some 13 billion years ago. Catalogued as PSO J352.4034-15.3373 – P352-15 for short – the quasar is one of only a handful of bright radio sources in the early Universe, giving astronomers a chance to study some of the more enigmatic processes at work in that remote epoch.
“There is a dearth of known strong radio emitters from the Universe’s youth, and this is the brightest radio quasar at that epoch by a factor of 10,” said Eduardo Banados of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California.
Emmanuel Momjian of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) said the VLBA observations represent “the most detailed image yet of such a bright galaxy at this great distance.,”
Quasars are thought to be galaxies featuring super-massive black holes in their cores with millions to billions of times the mass of ...

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