Quasars are powerful but short-lived explosions that cause supernovae and gamma ray bursts. They erupt from the center of galaxies and are the brightest thing in the celestial universe. Quasars are generally up to 100 times as bright as the universe that hosts them. Even though they are so bright, they are hard to see with the human eye, as they are up to billions of light years away from earth.
They are formed when the black hole in the center of a galaxy is surrounded by friction or magnetic movement of material, causing two jets to erupt from either side of the accretion plate. These emission last until the fuel on the accretion disk runs out. The center of these types of galaxies are called AGN (active galactic nucleus).
Quasars, blazars and radio galaxies are all the same thing, but are just named differently depending on what angle we can see them from here on earth.
We call them quasars when we view it from any side on angle other then perpendicular. In that instance, it is called a radio galaxy. Blazars are viewed when we can see directly the barrel of the jet leaving the nucleus.
The word quasar and the acronym QSR stand for ‘quasi-stellar radio source’ (meaning star like) due to their appearance.
When quasar jets interact with gas surrounding the galaxy, radio waves are emitted, which can be seen as radio lobes by telescopes.
Scientists use quasars to study the intervening galaxies and diffuse gas. Quasars are ideal for this as they are compact point sources.
The brightest Quasar in space is 3C 273, which was also the first Quasar to be found, in the late 1950’s. It is in the constellation Virgo, 2.5 billion light years away from earth. From the distance of 33 light years, it would shine as brightly as our sun, its luminosity 4 trillion times that of the sun. It is known to have a core temperature hotter than 10 trillion degrees Celsius.
To most people, the universe began 13 billion years ago, starting with a ‘big bang.’
It formed as matter, space and energy...