Space is always fascinating and humbling in the sense of how big it is. It is beyond the comprehension powers of a human being. Apparently, Scientists have discovered the most distant radio blast that is ever known.
The Most Distant Radio Blast Ever
The radio blast is from a quasar. It is so distant that it took 13 billion years for its light to come to earth. This essentially means that the signals that scientists detect were when the universe was just 780 million years old.
To give you context, more distant quasars have been found in the past by scientists. The important thing about this one is that this one is “radio-loud.” It means that it is for the first time radio jets are detected from such a distant object.
What Are Quasars?
Quasars are some of the brightest shining objects in the universe. Usually, they are located at the center of some galaxies. When a black hole consumes the surrounding gas, the blackhole throws out energy that travels in the universe, and the scientists study these energies. Giant black holes power quasars.
Only 10% of the quasars are “radio-loud,” now this is a small number. The reason why they are useful is that they shine very brightly to scientists.
Scientists are able to find a large number of objects from the first billion years of the universe over the last decade. However, it is very difficult to find objects that sent out radio signals.
The quasar called P172+18 is powered by one of the most hungry black holes ever observed. It is 300 million times bigger than our sun. It is consuming the material around it very fast, making it one of the fastest-growing black holes ever.
“I find it very exciting to discover ‘new’ black holes for the first time and to provide one more building block to understand the primordial Universe, where we come from, and ultimately ourselves,” said Chiara Mazzucchelli from the European Southern Observatory, who was one of the scientists who found the object.
The Magellan Telescopes at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile helped scientists to observe the quasar in detail. They were able to detect that the radio blast and recognize that it was coming from a distant object.
Researchers are using a bunch of equipment, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope, to study the quasar and the black hole. They are also able to observe the fast-growing mass of the black hole.
“As soon as we got the data, we inspected it by eye, and we knew immediately that we had discovered the most distant radio-loud quasar known so far,” said Eduardo Bañados of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, who led the work alongside Dr. Mazzucchelli.
Scientists are very optimistic and believe that they will find more radio-loud quasars that are even deeper inside the universe.
“This discovery makes me optimistic, and I believe — and hope — that the distance record will be broken soon,” said Bañados.
The paper regarding this discovery is titled “The discovery of a highly accreting, radio-loud quasar at z=6.82,” and it will be published in The Astrophysical Journal.
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