Quasars

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Wow!

Quasars give off more energy than 100 normal galaxies combined.

Many astronomers believe that quasars are the most distant objects yet detected in the universe. Quasars give off enormous amounts of energy - they can be a trillion times brighter than the Sun! Quasars are believed to produce their energy from massive black holes in the center of the galaxies in which the quasars are located. Because quasars are so bright, they drown out the light from all the other stars in the same galaxy.

Quasar at the heart of a galaxy
A Quasar

Despite their brightness, due to their great distance from Earth, no quasars can be seen with an unaided eye. Energy from quasars takes billions of years to reach the Earth's atmosphere. For this reason, the study of quasars can provide astronomers with information about the early stages of the universe.

The word quasar is short for "quasi-stellar radio source". This name, which means star-like emitters of radio waves, was given in the 1960s when quasars were first detected. The name is retained today, even though astronomers now know most quasars are faint radio emitters. In addition to radio waves and visible light, quasars also emit ultraviolet rays, infrared waves, X-rays, and gamma-rays. Most quasars are larger than our solar system. A quasar is approximately 1 kiloparsec in width.

A Question

What is the average width of a quasi-stellar radio source?

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Did you know?

The Answer
The Answer

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