MUSE spies accreting giant structure around a quasar

This Picture of the Week shows a huge cloud of gas around the distant quasar SDSS J102009.99+104002.7, taken by the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory. Quasars are the luminous centres of active galaxies, which are kept active by material falling onto the central supermassive black hole. This quasar and its surrounding cloud are at a redshift larger than 3, meaning that they are seen as they were only about 2 billion years after the Big Bang.

The cloud of gas (or nebula) surrounding the quasar is known to astronomers as an Enormous Lyman-Alpha Nebula (ELAN). These types of nebula are massive structures of gas which formed in the early Universe, and they can help astronomers to learn how angular momentum — which explains the observed rotation of more recent galaxies — was created in the Universe. Thanks to the revolutionary MUSE instrument, it is now possible to observe these rare giant nebulae in greater detail than ever before.

This particular ELAN has a diameter of about a million light-years, and MUSE’s spectral imaging capabilities have allowed astronomers to measure the signature of inspiraling motions within the nebula — for the first time ever.

Link

Forrás:

ESO/Arrigoni Battaia et al.

About the Image

Id:potw1747a
Típus:Observation
Közzététel napja:2017. november 20. 6.00
Size:614 x 656 px

About the Object

Név:SDSS J102009.99+104002.7
Típus:Early Universe : Galaxy : Activity : AGN : Quasar
Distance:z=3.164 (redshift)
Constellation:Leo
Category:Quasars and Black Holes

Képformátumok

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Coordinates

Position (RA):10 20 9.39
Position (Dec):10° 40' 3.25"
Field of view:1.02 x 1.09 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.0° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
Ly-α
121 nmVery Large Telescope
MUSE
Optical
Continuum
540 nmVery Large Telescope
MUSE
Optical
Continuum
823 nmVery Large Telescope
MUSE

 

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