Astronomers used the Hubble Telescope and found a quasar with a brightness 600 trillion times that of the Sun.
It is the brightest object ever seen in the early universe, with an estimated age of 12 billion years, barely 1 billion years after the formation of the universe.
This quasar is so bright because it is the source of energy emanating from the center of a giant black hole. Astronomers believe that the discovery of quasars could give a glimpse of the birth of galaxies, when the universe was only a billion years old.
With the designation J043947.08 + 163415.7, the newly discovered quasar is very old, up to 12 billion years old. To be 600 trillion times brighter than the Sun, this quasar is powered by a supermassive black hole several million times larger than the Sun.
According to astronomers, this super bright quasar “gives” about 10,000 new stars each year, and the supermassive black hole that powers it sucks up surrounding matter at extremely high speeds. For comparison, the Milky Way as we know it only produces about one new star per year.
Lead author of the study, Xiaohui Fan, of the University of Arizona, said he doesn’t believe there will be many quasars brighter than this in the entire universe.
“This is something that I have been looking for for a long time. We don’t think we will find more quasars brighter than this throughout the observable universe,” Fan said.
“The properties and distance of the quasar make it a prime candidate for studying the evolution of distant quasars and the role of supermassive black holes in star formation,” said study co-author Fabian Walter, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, adds.