Hubble loses best camera but discovers brightest ever quasar

The Hubble Space Telescope Has A Glitch- Again

Space news: Light formed at beginning of TIME reaches Earth reaches Earth | Daily Star

"We don't expect to find many quasars brighter than that in the whole observable universe", said lead investigator Xiaohui Fan of the University of Arizona, in Tucson.

NASA said this quasar was a "lucky" find because of light contamination caused by the bright light from quasar drowning out surrounding starlight.

The light from quasar J0439+1634, about 12.8 billion light-years away, bends as it passes by a galaxy roughly six billion light-years away.

"Quasar" is short for quasi-stellar radio source, and describes bright centres of galaxies.

"We can even look for gas around the black hole and what the black hole may be influencing in the galaxy".

The old, trusty telescope also suffered a setback in early October a year ago, when one of its gyroscopes span out of control.

The Hubble Space Telescope's premier camera has shut down because of a hardware problem.

The team estimate the quasar may be producing up to 10,000 stars per year, making the Milky Way's mere single star per year look pretty meager in comparison. Luckily, the newly studied quasar and galaxy were just bright enough to be flagged as potential distant-universe objects.

Astronomers said the quasar's brightness is equivalent to about 600 trillion suns, and the supermassive black hole powering it is several million times as massive as our sun.

Co-author Fabian Walter, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, said it was a prime candidate for further investigation.

The intervening, or lensing, galaxy in this case makes the quasar appear 50 times brighter than it would otherwise.

Astronomers generally avoid looking for quasars in this region, because the abundance of stars and dust there drown out the faint quasar light.

Known as gravitational lensing, the gravitational field bends and amplifies the quasar's light.

Scientists will begin gathering data on the quasar including using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to try to identify the chemical composition and temperatures of intergalactic gas in the early universe.

Orbiting 350 miles (560km) above Earth, Hubble was launched in 1990 and visited by space shuttle astronauts for repairs and upgrades five times.

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