Quasar
                   
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  Turn It Up: Quasars:  
 

 

First called a “quasi-stellar radio source” (QSS), the quasar was discovered in the 1960s. Astronomers had picked up radio waves from space and used their telescopes to determine what the source could be. They found a few possibilities: a supernova remnant, the birth of new star(s), etc.

There was also emptiness. In these spots, all astronomers could find was an illumination – point-like, similar to stars.

As it turned out, this was a quasar: the center of a distant galaxy found on the edge of this universe. Studies have since discerned that in the center of this far-off galaxy, there’s a lot of action happening whereby massive amounts of energy are being emitted.

The source of this energy output is likely a supermassive black hole. Modern astronomers theorize that quasars are a type of “active galactic nuclei” or AGN.


Note that galaxies only act like quasars early on in their development. Also note that quasars are outside the Milky Way Galaxy, billions of light years away in space. Consequently, for a quasar’s light to reach us hear on Earth, it would have taken billions of years.

Thus to observe a quasar is to observe the ancient; and since it is the result of a young galaxy, one can apply it to the birth of our own galaxy. Did the Milky Way once behave in a similar way?.
 

 
  Did you know:
  Not all quasars emit radio waves. The reason why some quasars do is because of the action going on within that particular galaxy’s center and the presence of a nearby magnetic field. As the nucleus’s electrons move (approaching the speed of light), the magnetic field causes them to move in “helical paths,” which in turn emit the radio waves.

In the world of quasars, there are “radio-loud quasars” (RLQ) and “radio-quiet quasars” (RQQ).