MANCHESTER, England, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The first images from the new e-Merlin array of linked telescopes show a distant quasar 9 billion light years from Earth, SPACE.com reported Wednesday.
Quasars, energy-spewing supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies, are among the brightest objects in the universe.
The e-Merlin images were of an object dubbed the "Double Quasar" because its light gets bent around another galaxy closer to Earth by the curvature of space, resulting in a "gravitational lens" that produces multiple, magnified images of the same quasar, scientists said.
"This first image of the Double Quasar clearly demonstrates how useful e-Merlin is going to be in our studies of gravitational lenses," Neal Jackson of the University of Manchester said. "By mapping the bending of light by mass, we will be able to study the way in which both stars and dark matter are distributed in galaxies and how this changes as the universe evolves."
The e-Merlin array will serve as Britain's national facility for radio astronomy.
The array will produce detailed radio images of stars and galaxies using seven telescopes spread up to 137 miles apart across Britain working as one.