Artistic impression of a distant quasar surrounded by a gas halo

This illustration depicts a gas halo surrounding a quasar in the early Universe. The quasar, in orange, has two powerful jets and a supermassive black hole at its centre, which is surrounded by a dusty disc. The gas halo of glowing hydrogen gas is represented in blue.

A team of astronomers surveyed 31 distant quasars, seeing them as they were more than 12.5 billion years ago, at a time when the Universe was still an infant, only about 870 million years old. They found that 12 quasars were surrounded by enormous gas reservoirs: halos of cool, dense hydrogen gas extending 100 000 light years from the central black holes and with billions of times the mass of the Sun. These gas stashes provide the perfect food source to sustain the growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe.

Credit:

ESO/M. Kornmesser

About the Image

Id:eso1921b
Type:Artwork
Release date:19 December 2019, 12:00
Related releases:eso1921
Size:3840 x 2400 px

About the Object

Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Activity : AGN : Quasar
Category:Cosmology
Illustrations

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Large JPEG
757.9 KB
Screensize JPEG
63.6 KB

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