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Sorry, Astronomers Haven’t Found The Brightest Quasar In The Entire Universe

18 Jan 2019, 15:01 UTC
Sorry, Astronomers Haven’t Found The Brightest Quasar In The Entire Universe
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This artist’s impression shows how J043947.08+163415.7, a very distant quasar powered by a supermassive black hole, may look close up. This object is by far the brightest quasar yet discovered in the early Universe, but only in terms of apparent brightness.(ESA/HUBBLE, NASA, M. KORNMESSER)With an assist from Einstein’s gravity and the power of the Hubble Space Telescope, it’s the brightest quasar we’ve ever discovered.In astronomy, there are two types of questions to answer: easy ones and hard ones. The easy questions involve nearby objects that are plentiful and easy to see; the hard ones involve distant objects that are rare and difficult to find. In many ways, the biggest questions of all involve determining what’s happening at the greatest cosmic extremes.In a spectacular new find, astronomers have announced a record-shattering quasar in the early Universe: brighter than 600 trillion Suns. With its light coming to us from 13 billion years ago — just 800 million years after the Big Bang — its brightness implies that it’s powered by a black hole of 10 billion times the mass of our Sun.But that conclusion is entirely wrong. It’s a quirk of Einstein’s relativity that’s tricking us, and we understand exactly why.“Standard candles” ...

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