Colliding Galaxies Give Birth to Quasars

Discovered in the late 1950s, quasars (a contraction of “quasi-stellar objects”) were long an enigma for astrophysicists, who suspected, but could not prove, that they were somehow related to supermassive black holes.

Despite appearing as the brightest and most powerful objects in the universe, the quasar conundrum vexed scientists for more than 50 years. But now it has been proved conclusively that quasars are the product of merging galaxies, created when the central black holes of the galaxies collide and conjoin into a new supermassive black hole. Science explains the story in Galaxy Collisions Give Birth to Quasars.

Update: For more, see After Growth Spurt, Supermassive Black Holes Spend Half Their Lives Veiled in Dust in EurekAlert!

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Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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