Quasars in interacting galaxies

[Top Row]
This is a selection of photos from a Hubble Space Telescope survey of 11 ultra-bright quasars that existed at the peak of the universe's star-formation era, which was 12 billion years ago. The quasars (powered by supermassive black holes) are so compact and bright they make a diffraction-spike pattern in the telescope's optics - an optical artifact typically only produced by bright nearby stars. Despite their brightness, the quasars are actually dimmed by dusty gas around them. The infrared capability of Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 was able to probe deeply into the material around the quasars.

[Bottom Row]
When the glare of the quasar is subtracted, researchers see evidence for collisions between galaxies. The collisions and mergers gave birth to the quasars by fueling the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxies. The new images capture the dust-clearing transitional phase in the merger-driven quasar birth. These observations show that the brightest quasars in the universe live in merging galaxies.

Link:

NASA Press release

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and E. Glikman (Middlebury College, Vermont)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo1520a
Type:Collage
Release date:19 June 2015, 09:46
Size:3000 x 2400 px

About the Object

Name:F2M J142744.34+372337.4, F2M J222252.78-020257.4, F2MS J1036+2828 , QSO J0738+2750, UKFS 0030
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Activity : AGN : Quasar
Category:Quasars and Black Holes

Image Formats

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1.6 MB
Screensize JPEG
249.0 KB

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Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
J
1.2486 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Y
1.0552 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
H
1.5369 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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