Astronomers Detect Quasar Nearest Region

By  //  December 7, 2013

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supermassive black hole

ABOVE VIDEO: The mystery of quasars is revealed. Using a technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry, astronomers in Hawaii Chile and Arizona were able to record radio signals from Quasar 3C279.

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANVERAL, FLORIDA – For the first time, a team of astronomers have been able to observe the center of a nearby galaxy’s quasar.

Astronomers connecting the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX), in Chile, to the Submillimeter Array (SMA) in Hawaii and the Submillimeter Telescope (SMT) in Arizona were able to make sharp observations for the first time of the center of the Quasar 3C 279. (Artist’s depiction courtesy NASA)

Using a technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry, astronomers in Hawaii Chile and Arizona were able to record radio signals from Quasar 3C279.

It is a supermassive black hole with a mass nearly a billion times the mass of our sun.

Quasars are the very bright centers of some distant galaxies where emitted beams of light escape, commonly explained by astronomers as the result of a swirling black hole at the galaxy’s center.

Astronomers said the quasar signals originated from a place 28 micro arcseconds in diameter about half a light year from the quasar’s nucleus.

Quasars are the very bright centers of some distant galaxies where emitted beams of light escape, commonly explained by astronomers as the result of a swirling black hole at the galaxy’s center.

The quasar’s jet was discovered on telescope magnification of a little more than 2 million and observed on triangulated telescopes currently existing in Arizona, Hawaii and Chile.

It hoped that using this new technique will give astronomers an opportunity to see images of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way Galaxy, creating a futuristic road map for NASA long-range space exploration and missions.

Three years of observations led to the discovery and it is hoped that when work on the new Atacama Large Millimeter Array Telescope in Chile is completed in the next few years, further breakthrough research on quasars will be made.


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