facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Rare triple quasar system identified

March 12, 2013 at 7:48 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- U.S. and European astronomers have reported the discovery of an extremely rare cosmic phenomenon, a triple quasar system, only the second ever detected.

The astronomers, including Michele Fumagalli from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, made the identification by combing observations from the European Southern Observatory at La Silla, Chile, and from the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain.

Quasars are extremely bright and powerful sources of energy that sit in the center of a galaxy, surrounding a black hole. Systems with multiple quasars are believed to be the product of galaxies colliding, the researchers said.

The light from the triple quasar system called QQQ J1519+0627 has traveled 9 billion light-years to reach Earth, which means the light started its journey when the universe was only a third of its current age, they said.

Two members of the triplet are closer to each other than the third, the researchers said, suggesting this quasar system is part of some larger structure that is still undergoing formation.

"Honing our observational and modeling skills and finding this rare phenomenon will help us understand how cosmic structures assemble in our universe and the basic processes by which massive galaxies form," Fumagalli said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Psychedelic mushrooms enable a hyperconnected brain Psychedelic mushrooms enable a hyperconnected brain
2
SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth
3
Google working on pill to detect cancer Google working on pill to detect cancer
4
Why NASA is watching Ebola Why NASA is watching Ebola
5
Dude! Company floats fly hoverboard Dude! Company floats fly hoverboard
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback