Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Astronomers discover extremely rare triple quasar

Date:
March 12, 2013
Source:
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Summary:
For only the second time in history, astronomers have discovered an extremely rare triple quasar system. Quasars are extremely bright and powerful sources of energy that sit in the center of a galaxy, surrounding a black hole. In systems with multiple quasars, the bodies are held together by gravity and are believed to be the product of galaxies colliding.

An infrared image of the triple quasar system QQQ J1519+0627, made using the 3.5-m aperture telescope of the Calar Alto Observatory. The three quasars are labelled A, B and C.
Credit: Emanuele Paolo Farina

For only the second time in history, a team of scientists including Michele Fumagalli from the Carnegie Institution for Science in the United States have discovered an extremely rare triple quasar system.

Their work is published in the Oxford University Press journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Quasars are extremely bright and powerful sources of energy that sit in the centre of a galaxy, surrounding a black hole. In systems with multiple quasars, the bodies are held together by gravity and are believed to be the product of galaxies colliding. It is very difficult to observe triplet quasar systems, because of observational limits that prevent researchers from differentiating multiple nearby bodies from one another at astronomical distances. Moreover, such phenomena are presumed to be very rare.

The team led by Emanuele Farina of the University of Insubria in Como, Italy, combined observations from the New Technology Telescope of the European Southern Observatory at La Silla, Chile and from the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain with advanced modelling. This enabled them to find the triplet quasar, called QQQ J1519+0627. The light from the three quasars has travelled 9 billion light years to reach us, which means the light was emitted when the universe was only a third of its current age.

Advanced analysis confirmed that what the team found was indeed three distinct sources of quasar energy and that the phenomenon is extremely rare.

Two members of the triplet are closer to each other than the third. This means that the system could have been formed by interaction between the two adjacent quasars, but was probably not triggered by interaction with the more-distant third quasar. Furthermore, no evidence was seen of any ultra-luminous infrared galaxies (galaxies with very strong emission in infrared light), which is where quasars are commonly found. As a result, the team proposes that this triplet quasar system is part of some larger structure that is still undergoing formation.

"Honing our observational and modelling 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.

"Further study will help us figure out exactly how these quasars came to be and how rare their formation is," Farina added.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. P. Farina, C. Montuori, R. Decarli, M. Fumagalli. Caught in the Act: Discovery of a Physical Quasar Triplet. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2013 [link]

Cite This Page:

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Astronomers discover extremely rare triple quasar." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312092537.htm>.
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). (2013, March 12). Astronomers discover extremely rare triple quasar. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312092537.htm
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS). "Astronomers discover extremely rare triple quasar." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130312092537.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

Raw: NASA Captures Solar Flare

AP (Sep. 1, 2014) NASA reported the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, on August 24th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. (Sept. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Space Shuttle Discovery's Legacy, 30 Years Later

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The space shuttle Discovery launched for the very first time 30 years ago. Here's a look back at its legacy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Experiment Tests Whether Universe Is Actually A Hologram

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) Researchers at Fermilab are using a device called "The Holometer" to test whether our universe is actually a 2-D hologram that just seems 3-D. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes After Liftoff

Newsy (Aug. 23, 2014) The private spaceflight company says it is preparing a thorough investigation into Friday's mishap. 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