Monday, 21 January, 2019

Astronomers found a quasar burning brighter than 600 trillion suns

The Hubble Space Telescope Has A Glitch- Again Hubble Space Telescope’s team works to revive camera amid NASA shutdown
Sandy Nunez | 13 January, 2019, 20:13

WFC3 was installed by astronauts during Hubble Servicing Mission 4 in 2009. On Twitter, the space agency revealed that Hubble has taken a photograph of the brightest quasar ever in the early universe, which is equivalent to the brightness of 600 trillion suns.

NASA's Hubble scope said that one of the cameras of the nearly 30-year-old space telescope - the Wide Field Camera 3 - is no longer operational because of a hardware problem.

Xiaohui Fan said he did not expect to find many quasars brighter than this in the whole universe.

A quasar is the ultra-bright center of a newly forming galaxy, expelling energy as gas is consumed by the black hole at its heart. It takes pictures in both visible and ultraviolet light, as well as near-infrared. The quasar likely blazed when the universe was less than a billion years old, but some of its light is only now reaching Earth.

'Prior to this, no stars, quasars, or galaxies had been formed, until objects like this appeared like candles in the dark'.

The global research team found the quasar's exceptional brightness to be caused by gravitational lensing, a phenomenon by which the gravity of objects closer to Earth acts as a magnifying glass to observe objects much farther away in space. However, the telescope might still be able to continue its observations thanks to the other three active instruments, while the Wide Field Camera 3 anomaly is investigated, NASA said in a statement.

Launched in 1990, the world's first space telescope helped confirm the theory that the universe is expanding, lending credence to the Big Bang theory.

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Brown said he is confident the issue will be resolved in the next week or two.

"Our theoretical study predicts that we might be missing a substantial fraction of the population of these 'phantom quasars.' If they are indeed numerous, it would revolutionize our idea of what happened right after the Big Bang, and even change our view of how these cosmic monsters grew up in mass", said Pacucci.

"That's something we have been looking for for a long time".

He also mentioned that the government shutdown is not affecting the repairs. NASA reportedly has formed an investigative team, mostly consisting of contractors and experts from its industry partners, to examine the technical troubles.

Besides, Nancy Grace Roman who was known for her contribution in building the Hubble Space Telescope passed away at the age of 93.

"In the meantime, the Hubble is operating on its three instruments", Brown said.

The old, trusty telescope also suffered a setback in early October a year ago, when one of its gyroscopes span out of control.