THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS QUASAR
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