Ask me anythingSubmitmeArchive

sciencesoup:

What are Quasars?

In the 1960s, astronomers measured strong radio emissions from faint, star-like points. These were called “quasars” (shortened from “quasi-stellar radio source”) and although they look optically identical to stars, astronomers soon discovered that quasars are moving away from us at high speeds, meaning that they’re actually incredibly far away. They’re also quite small, only about the size of our solar system, and so in order to appear as bright as stars quasars must be emitting enormous amounts of electromagnetic radiation: as much energy per second as a thousand galaxies. The only currently-known event that would produce such a high-energy output is matter interacting with supermassive black holes, which are at the centre of almost all galaxies, including our own. So, quasars are believed to be supermassive black holes at the centres of young galaxies. The energy we see is produced when huge quantities of gas spirals rapidly into the gravitational whirlpool, becoming heated to temperatures of millions of degrees—then part of it escapes as hot wind or superheated beams that shoot away from the black hole’s accretion disk. We’ve observed over 60,000 of them so far, the closest at 780 million light-years away and the furthest at 12 billion, nearer to the birth of the universe than to us. It’s thought that most galaxies have gone through an active stage as a quasar, but are now quiet because they’ve exhausted their supplies of matter to feed their central black hole.

(Image Credit: 1, 2)

(via chubbypandaa)

2,719 notes

  1. p-brane reblogged this from sciencesoup
  2. birkenstocksandtea reblogged this from blonde-eh
  3. blonde-eh reblogged this from sciencesoup
  4. lifeisalostgame reblogged this from sciencesoup
  5. ohtobeoriginal reblogged this from cielito-lindo
  6. empathy-vs-apathy-nyc reblogged this from controlandcollapsecollide
  7. controlandcollapsecollide reblogged this from sciencesoup
  8. hannahl326 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  9. kehinki reblogged this from sciencesoup
  10. midnight-clocks reblogged this from sciencesoup
  11. ilike2learn reblogged this from sciencesoup
  12. wondersofthestars reblogged this from kenobi-wan-obi
  13. maeflowerss reblogged this from child-of-the-universe
  14. aboett reblogged this from scinerds
  15. satanicpizzaparty reblogged this from kenobi-wan-obi
  16. 85-trans-am reblogged this from sciencesoup
  17. j-romee reblogged this from sciencesoup
  18. coraxives reblogged this from mothernaturenetwork
  19. lifeisntalwayscute reblogged this from eminemmalucille
  20. j3ssicamay reblogged this from movementoftheworld
  21. thadroidyourelookingfor reblogged this from drewish87
  22. footloosefloyd reblogged this from sciencesoup
  23. drewish87 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  24. architrex reblogged this from sciencesoup
  25. bluntke reblogged this from sciencesoup
  26. reference4medew0319 reblogged this from flavorpill
  27. thelastbasselope reblogged this from mothernaturenetwork and added:
    O.O
  28. saganth reblogged this from pendark
  29. filledupwithjoy reblogged this from cherches
  30. aloneinmy-mind reblogged this from cherches
  31. cherches reblogged this from lightofmeridian
  32. we-are-dirtandstars reblogged this from lightofmeridian
  33. youtails-mesonic reblogged this from lightofmeridian
  34. lightofmeridian reblogged this from cecilssbutt and added:
    All I can think of now is “My name is Quasar, I play laser guitar” and I can guarantee that not a single fucking one of...
  35. definedyke reblogged this from cecilssbutt
  36. cecilssbutt reblogged this from asddsdf
  37. jmonii reblogged this from sciencesoup