June 3, 2023

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The Hubble Space Telescope makes an unexpected discovery

A concept image released on April 5, 2023 shows the bright glow of two quasars residing at the cores of two galaxies in the process of chaotic merger. A tug of war between the two galaxies has sparked a storm of star birth. Quasars are brilliant beacons of intense light from the centers of distant galaxies. – NASA

In another remarkable discovery, NASA revealed in its official statement that scientists – with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope – have captured the view of two gravitationally bound quasars that generate an enormous amount of brightness within two merged galaxies.

The universe has always been an active place for merging or colliding space objects which has always intrigued astronomers. However, quasars existed when the universe was only three billion years old, according to the press release.

Quasars are objects that emit a large number of energies as they absorb gas, dust, and anything within their gravitational zone. They are powered by supermassive black holes.

Hubble Space Telescope image of a pair of quasars that existed when the universe was only 3 billion years old. It is embedded within a pair of colliding galaxies. The quasars are separated by the size of less than one galaxy. – NASA

The results are reported in the study published in the journal Nature.

“We don’t see many paired quasars this early in the Universe. That’s why this discovery is so exciting,” Yu-Ching Chen, the study’s lead author, noted in a statement.

The study of finding a pair of quasars is a relatively new field of research, and modern, technologically equipped astronomical observatories have enabled scientists to detect areas where quasars are active.

There is ample evidence, according to NASA, that smaller fragments aggregate and form massive systems and large structures. Similarly, galaxies also form from such mergers. During the merger of two galaxies, pairs of supermassive black holes were formed inside them.

“Knowing the early inhabitants of black holes will ultimately tell us about the appearance of supermassive black holes in the early universe, and how frequent these mergers were,” said Chen, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. .

Shen Liu of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign believes that “we are beginning to unveil this part of the iceberg for early binary quasar clusters. This is the uniqueness of this study. It actually tells us that this cluster exists, and now we have a way to identify the paired quasars that separate them.” less than the size of a single galaxy.

Chen also said, “Hubble’s sensitivity and resolution provided images that allow us to rule out other possibilities for what we see.”

The Hubble Space Telescope image clearly shows a pair of supermassive black holes from two quasars.

NASA noted that “because Hubble looks far into the past, this double quasar no longer exists. Over the course of 10 billion years, its host galaxies likely settled into a giant elliptical galaxy, like the one we see in the local universe today.” “.

NASA added, “The nearby giant elliptical galaxy, M87, has a supermassive black hole weighing 6.5 billion times the mass of our sun. This black hole may have arisen from one or more galactic mergers over the past billions of years.”

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