Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More Red Quasars May Loom In The Universe

Date:
June 11, 2002
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Elusive red quasars may be more common than previously expected, according to a recent survey conducted by a research team headed by Dr. Mark Lacy, an astronomer at the Space Infrared Telescope Facility Science Center in Pasadena.

Elusive red quasars may be more common than previously expected, according to a recent survey conducted by a research team headed by Dr. Mark Lacy, an astronomer at the Space Infrared Telescope Facility Science Center in Pasadena.

The team will display its report on June 3 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.

"Every galaxy is thought to have contained a quasar at some point in its lifetime. We wanted a good estimate of the number of quasars existing early in the life of the universe to compare to the numbers of black holes we see in the centers of galaxies today," Lacy said.

Quasars are thought to be caused by black holes that reside at the centers of galaxies and attract matter from their host galaxies. As the matter falls into the black hole, it heats up and glows brightly, producing a quasar. Because the gas is so hot, many quasars appear very blue in color. Red quasars, however, have smoke-like dust in front of them. This dust absorbs the blue light from the quasar, making it appear redder and fainter than it would otherwise.

Red quasars, which are less common than normal quasars, are difficult to detect because their colors make them hard to distinguish from stars. To find red quasars, Lacy and his team first matched two surveys revealing the positions of existing quasars, among other objects. The two surveys used were the near-infrared Two Micron All-Sky Survey, carried out by the University of Massachusetts and processed at the JPL/Caltech Infrared Processing and Analysis Center in Pasadena, and the Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-centimeters survey, conducted by R.H. Becker, R.L. White, and D.J. Helfand using the Very Large Array, about 50 miles west of Socorro, New Mexico.

To determine which of the existing quasars were red, the team then used digitized Palomar Observatory sky survey plates, which show images of the sky in visible light. Red quasars were faint or invisible in these plates because of the dust in front of them, but were detected in the infrared. Halfway through their project, Lacy and his team had already found 17 of the reddest quasars known.

"Seventeen is a big number because it implies that there are a lot more red quasars in the universe that we have yet to find," Lacy said.

Lacy's team suspects there are many quasars that are even redder than those they observed. They believe these objects, called Quasar-2's, are just as common as normal quasars. These highly reddened quasars were undetectable through their methods; however, other surveys have reported that they exist.

Lacy co-authored the report with M. Gregg and R.H. Becker, University of California, Davis and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif.; R.L. White, the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.; and E. Glikman and D.J. Helfand, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

The Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty-centimeters survey is supported by the National Science Foundation, Arlington, Va.; the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; the California Space Institute of the University of California; the Space Telescope Science Institute; Columbia University; Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, Calif.; the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brussels, Belgium; and the National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility Science Center will handle science operations for the Space Infrared Telescope Facility mission, launching next year. The mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "More Red Quasars May Loom In The Universe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020611072023.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2002, June 11). More Red Quasars May Loom In The Universe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020611072023.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "More Red Quasars May Loom In The Universe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020611072023.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

SpaceX Cargo Ship Blasts Off Toward Space Station

AFP (Sep. 21, 2014) SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo ship blasts off toward the International Space Station, carrying a load of supplies and science experiments for the astronauts living there. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA's MAVEN To Study Martian Atmosphere

NASA's MAVEN To Study Martian Atmosphere

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) NASA's Maven will soon give information that could explain what happened to Mars' atmosphere. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3-D Printing Enters The Final Frontier

3-D Printing Enters The Final Frontier

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) NASA sent a 3-D printer to the International Space Station, bringing manufacturing to space for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins