Hubble Telescope Captures Brightest Quasar Ever Recorded

The distant quasar, a series of energy jets powered by supermassive black holes, has the combined brightness of almost 600trillion suns, astronomers say.

Astronomers said it is by far the brightest quasar discovered so far in the early universe.

Scientists claim it is by far the brightest quasar yet discovered in the early universe.

The US team say the quasar, named JO439+ 1634, has enabled us to "sample light emitted from the dawn of time".

Despite the quasar's brightness Hubble was able to spot it only because its appearance was strongly affected by strong gravitational lensing.

Light from the quasar serendipitously passed near a galaxy between Earth and the source on its path to us, scientists found.

Quasars similar to J0439 existed during the period of reionization of the young Universe, when radiation from young galaxies and quasars reheated the obscuring hydrogen that had cooled off just 400,000 years after the Big Bang; the Universe reverted from being neutral to once again being an ionized plasma.

However, the telescope will continue to perform science observations with its other three active instruments, while the Wide Field Camera 3 anomaly is investigated, the U.S. space agency said in a statement. By comparison, the Milky Way produces about one new star a year.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Xiaohui Fan (University of Arizona) The spectroscopic data also allowed the researchers to estimate the mass of the quasar's central supermassive black hole; they calculated it at around 700 million times that of the sun.

The ageing telescope's wide-field camera could be turned off for a while as NASA employees are unable to fix it because of the indefinite political impasse.

According to the data, the quasar may be producing up to 10,000 stars a year and the supermassive black hole at its center is accreting matter at an extremely high rate.

Because the quasar is so far away, NASA was only able to detect it because another galaxy closer to Earth acts as a lens, making the quasar look extra bright. Astronomers generally avoid looking for quasars in this region, because the abundance of stars and dust there drown out the faint quasar light. Fabian Walter, from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany.

Data will now be gathered on the quasar with the use of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to try to identify its chemical composition and temperatures of intergalactic gas in the early universe.

"Its properties and its distance make it a prime candidate to investigate the evolution of distant quasars and the role supermassive black holes in their centers had on star formation", added Dr. Astronomers also plan to use the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and eventually NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, to look within 150 light-years of the black hole.

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