The Brightest Quasar of the Early Universe Shines with the Light of 600 Trillion Suns - Space.com
Space.com - Fri 11 Jan 14:47 GMT

The Brightest Quasar of the Early Universe Shines with the Light of 600 Trillion Suns - Space.com

The energetic core of a distant galaxy blasts past the record for brightest object in the early universe, blazing with the light equivalent to 600 trillion suns.

  Researchers identified the object — a black-hole-powered object called a quasar, among the universe's brightest inhabitants — because of a chance alignment with a dim galaxy closer to Earth that magnified its light.

  [Watch: The Brightest Quasar of the Early Universe Explained] "That's something we have been looking for for a long time," Xiaohui Fan, a researcher at the University of Arizona and lead author on the new work, said in a statement from the Hubble Space Telescope team.

  Through a process called gravitational lensing, light from the quasar has bent around a galaxy in between the object and Earth, magnifying our view: the quasar appears three times as large and 50 times as bright as it would have otherwise, researchers said in the statement.

  Learning more about this quasar, which also appears to be producing 10,000 stars per year, can teach researchers more about this distant but pivotal time in history, when the first stars and galaxies were kindling and shaping the universe to what we know today.

  "This detection is a surprising and major discovery; for decades we thought that these lensed quasars in the early universe should be very common, but this is the first of its kind that we have found," Fabio Pacucci, a researcher at Yale University, a co-author on the work and lead author on a follow-up paper about the quasar, said in a statement from the Keck Observatory.