Hubble Space Telescope's premier camera shuts down

Astronomers Discover the Brightest Quasar to Date

"Of course, we can only detect the big objects from that time, so nearly everything that we can detect from that era has to be pretty big". It's burning brighter than 600 trillion suns.

Data was collated from NASA, the ESA and the Gemini North telescope in Hawai'i.

They believe the quasar can provide an insight into galaxies' birth, when the universe was about a billion years old.

Pacucci and his colleagues said the super-bright quasar, catalogued as J043947.08+163415.7, could hold the record for being the brightest in the early universe for quite some time.

First discovered by Maarten Schmidt, quasars are the extremely bright nuclei of active galaxies, created by a supermassive black hole surrounded by an accretion disc. "But we are still figuring out what the right path forward is".

Despite its brightness Hubble was only able to spot the quasar with the help of strong gravitational lensing caused by a dim galaxy between the quasar and the Earth.

During this time hydrogen that had cooled off after the big bang was reheated by young galaxies and other quasars. The quasar produces energy as gas falls into a supermassive black hole.

"At 1723 UTC on Jan 8, the Wide Field Camera 3 on the Hubble Space Telescope suspended operations due to a hardware problem", NASA officials said in a short statement.

The data shows that the quasar may be producing up to 10,000 stars per year, scientists said.

"The reason this one was discovered was - a bit lucky actually - because the quasar is so bright and the lensing galaxy is very faint compared to all the other lensing galaxies we know", lead author and astronomer Xiaohui Fan, of the University of Arizona, told Live Science.

It's times like this that we're reminded of just how incredible Hubble's mission has been.

NASA will continue to study the quasar to find out more about its gas consumption and identify the chemical composition and temperatures of intergalactic gas in the early universe. Fabian Walter, from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany.

Earth's atmosphere made deciphering the images hard and only by using Hubble were scientists able to identify the quasar image is split into three components.

The light from quasar J0439+1634, about 12.8 billion light-years away, bends as it passes by a galaxy roughly six billion light-years away.

The composite image includes 54 snapshots of Hubble's vision digitally stitched together, capturing a truly staggering 25 million stars. Now they are analysing a detailed 20-hour spectrum from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, which will allow them to identify the chemical composition and temperatures of intergalactic gas in the early Universe.

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