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The scene developed, two mysterious spots of radio light were discovered in space

The scene developed, two mysterious spots of radio light were discovered in space

3c 273 is an extremely bright quasar star, and the first planet ever discovered. It is 3 billion lunar years from Earth, but they calculated that if it was 32 light years away it would light up our sky as much as the Sun (which is 8 light minutes away).

Its nature has been problematic for two main reasons: its extreme brightness has always prevented us from studying the galaxy around it, and until a few decades ago we weren’t quite sure what it really was.

We know today that it might be a very large black hole surrounded by huge swirls of gas that falls into the hole at the speed of light and creates friction that makes them shine like this.

Komogi et al., NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

Moreover, a new study was also able to observe what surrounds the quasar, isolating the brightness of the galaxy thanks to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope.

In this way, two mysterious and huge radio structures that had never been seen before were discovered. One of the structures appears to be a huge patch of radio light enveloping the entire galaxy, so it stretches tens of thousands of light-years to the southwest. This radio fog interferes with the second structure: a giant jet of energy, known as an astrophysical jet, that also spans tens of thousands of light-years.

They found that while the quasar had ionized a huge amount of gas, rendering it useless for building new stars, star formation was not visibly suppressed in the galaxy as a whole. This suggests that growing and growing galaxies may still exist, with quasars spewing radiation at their centre.

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“This discovery offers a new avenue for studying problems previously addressed using optical light observations,” senior researcher Shinya Komoji, assistant professor at Kogakuen University in Tokyo, said in a statement.

“By applying the same technology to other quasars, we expect to understand how the galaxy evolves through its interaction with the central core.”

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