Two Mysterious Spots Of Radio Light Discovered In Space
We were only able to observe them now because the quasar was too bright, but a group of scientists managed to filter its light.
3c 273 is an extremely bright quasar, the first ever discovered. It is 3 billion moon years from Earth, but they calculated that if it were 32 light years away it would illuminate our sky as much as the Sun (which is 8 light minutes away). Its nature has been problematic for two main reasons: its extreme brightness has always prevented us from studying the galaxy around it, and until a few decades ago we weren’t very sure what it really was. Today we know that it is probably a very large black hole surrounded by huge eddies of gas that falling into the hole at the speed of light create a friction that makes them shine like this. Furthermore, a new study has also managed to observe what is around the quasar, isolating, thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope, the brightness of the galaxy. In this way, two mysterious and enormous radio structures never seen before were discovered. One structure appears to be a huge patch of radio light enveloping the entire galaxy, so it spans tens of thousands of light-years to the southwest. This radio fog overlaps the second structure: a gigantic jet of energy, known as an astrophysical jet, which also spans tens of thousands of light years. They found that while the quasar had ionized a staggering amount of gas, rendering it useless for building new stars, star formation was not visibly suppressed in the galaxy at large. This suggests that burgeoning and growing galaxies may still exist with quasars spewing radiation at their center.
“This discovery offers a new avenue for studying previously addressed problems using optical light observations,” study lead author Shinya Komugi, associate professor at Kogakuin University in Tokyo, said in a statement.
“By applying the same technique to other quasars, we expect to understand how a galaxy evolves through its interaction with the central core”.