Hubble Telescope Captures Brightest Quasar Ever Recorded

Hubble Telescope Captures Brightest Quasar Ever Recorded

Hubble Telescope Captures Brightest Quasar Ever Recorded

In October, the Hubble was placed in "safe mode" after one of the three gyroscopes used to aim and steady the telescope failed.

The quasar, officially cataloged as J043947.08+163415.7, was formed during the "reionization", or a transitional period in the universe's evolution. "We don't expect to find many quasars brighter than that in the whole observable universe!"

The Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 has been turned off due to hardware anomalies, according to an update from NASA.

"It gives us a clue on how to search for "phantom quasars" - sources that are out there, but can not be really detected yet".

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Any future discoveries of very distant quasars like J0439+1634 will continue to teach astronomers about the chemical environment and the growth of massive black holes in our early Universe.

The quasar found by the Hubble is 12.8 billion light-years away, NASA said, but was detectable thanks to the amplifying impact of a less distant galaxy.

"The detection of this peculiar source in the faraway universe is a major discovery for a surprising reason", said Yale postdoctoral associate Fabio Pacucci, co-author of a study which will be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, as well as lead author of a follow-up paper on the theoretical implications of the discovery. As astronomers look farther into space in terms of distance, it allows them to look farther back in time, closer to the time of the Big Bang.

Gemini data contained the tell-tale signature of magnesium which is critical for determining how far back in time we are looking as well as aiding in the determination of the mass of the black hole powering the quasar.

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The Hubble data show not only that the supermassive black hole is accreting matter at an extremely high rate but also that the quasar may be producing up to 10,000 stars per year.

In comparison, the Milky Way produces about one new star a year.

Despite the quasar's brightness Hubble was able to spot it only because its appearance was strongly affected by strong gravitational lensing. Through a process called gravitational lensing, light from the quasar has bent around a galaxy in between the object and Earth, magnifying our view: the quasar appears three times as large and 50 times as bright as it would have otherwise, researchers said in the statement. Fabian Walter, from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany.

According to a recent NASA report, Hubble Space Telescope lost its main camera, the so-called Wide Field Camera 3, and as the USA space agency stated, its engineers and scientists are not likely to address the issue anytime soon due to the government shutdown.

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