Home > Astronomy, Cosmology, General Astronomy, Quasars > Quasar May Be Embedded In Unusually Dusty Galaxy

Quasar May Be Embedded In Unusually Dusty Galaxy


Hubble Space Telescope view of one of the most distant and luminous quasars ever seen. Credit: NASA/ESA/M. Mechtley, R. Windhorst, Arizona State University

Hubble astronomers have looked at one of the most distant and brightest quasars in the universe and are surprised by what they did not see: the underlying host galaxy of stars feeding the quasar. The best explanation is that the galaxy is shrouded in so much dust that the stars are completely hidden everywhere. Astronomers believe that the James Webb Space Telescope will reveal the galaxy.

All but the very first galaxies contain some dust—the early universe was dust-free until the first generation of stars started making dust through nuclear fusion. As these stars aged and burned out, they filled interstellar space with this dust as they lost their atmospheres. The quasar dates back to an early time in the universe’s history—less than one billion years after the big bang—but was known to contain large amounts of dust from previous sub-millimeter observations. What surprised the researchers is how completely the dust is shrouding starlight within the galaxy—none of the starlight seems to be leaking out from around the quasar.

The team speculates that the black hole is devouring the equivalent mass of a few suns per year. It may have been eating at a more voracious rate earlier to bulk up to an estimated mass of three billion solar masses in just a few hundred million years.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/webb/news/dusty-quasar.html

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: