THE CASE OF THE CU­RI­OUS QUASAR

All About Space - - The Impossible Star -

Imag­ine an ob­ject so bright it can be seen al­most all the way across the vis­i­ble uni­verse, de­spite the fact it’s smaller than the So­lar Sys­tem. These amaz­ing ob­jects are known as ‘quasars’ – a con­trac­tion of quasi-stel­lar ob­ject. They look like stars, but they are so far away that any star’s light would have long since faded.

In­stead they are the gluti­nous black holes at the cen­tre of the first gal­ax­ies, chow­ing down on stars and gas. But one quasar seem­ingly flies in the faces of the re­ceived wis­dom about these enig­matic ob­jects, SDSS J010013.02+280225.8. It's 429 tril­lion-times brighter than the Sun and sits over 12 bil­lion light years from Earth.

Quasar mod­els sug­gest it shouldn't be that bright. As the black hole feeds it pro­duces in­tense ra­di­a­tion that's thought to blow re­main­ing gas away from the cen­tre, lim­it­ing the fu­ture food sup­ply. There sim­ply shouldn't be enough on the menu to power such a mon­ster. It means as­tro­physi­cists are look­ing again and how black holes con­sume and shape the heart of gal­ax­ies.

a quasar is a tril­lion-timesbrighter than the sun

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