Discovery nearly doubles known quasars from the ancient universe

September 12, 2016, Carnegie Institution for Science
Artist's rendering of a very distant quasar courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.

Quasars are supermassive black holes that sit at the center of enormous galaxies, accreting matter. They shine so brightly that they are often referred to as beacons and are among the most-distant objects in the universe that we can currently study. New work from a team led by Carnegie's Eduardo Bañados has discovered 63 new quasars from when the universe was only a billion years old. (It's about 14 billion years old today.)

This is the largest sample of such distant presented in a single scientific article, almost doubling the number of ancient quasars previously known. The findings will be published by The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

"Quasars are among the brightest objects and they literally illuminate our knowledge of the ," Bañados said.

But until now, the population of known ancient quasars was fairly small, so scientists' ability to glean information from them was limited. One of the main challenges is finding these , which are extremely rare. Scientists have searched for them for decades, but the effort is comparable to finding a needle in a haystack.

The quasars discovered by Bañados and his team will provide valuable information from the first billion years after the Big Bang, which is a period of great interest to astronomers.

Why?

The universe was created in the Big Bang and hot matter exploded everywhere. But then it cooled off enough for the first protons and electrons to form and then to coalesce into hydrogen atoms, which resulted in a dark universe for a long time. It wasn't until these atomic nuclei formed larger structures that light was able to shine once again in the universe. This happened when gravity condensed the matter and eventually formed the first sources of illumination, which might have included quasars.

There is still a lot about this era when the universe's lights were turned back on that science doesn't understand. But having more examples of ancient quasars will help experts to figure out what happened in those first billion years after the Big Bang.

"The formation and evolution of the earliest light sources and structures in the universe is one of the greatest mysteries in astronomy," Bañados said. "Very bright quasars such as the 63 discovered in this study are the best tools for helping us probe the early universe. But until now, conclusive results have been limited by the very small sample size of ancient quasars."

The coming years will see a great improvement in what we know about the early universe thanks to these discoveries.

Explore further: Galactic crashes fuel quasars, study finds

More information: "The Pan-STARRS1 Distant z>5.6 Quasar Survey: More than 100 Quasars Within the First Gyr of the universe," E. Bañados et al., 2016, to appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series Arxiv: arxiv.org/abs/1608.03279

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37 comments

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tinitus
Sep 12, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
IMP-9
4.4 / 5 (14) Sep 12, 2016
According to Big Bang the quasars are young galaxies so they should occur just at the distant areas of universe


No. The first quasar with a redshift was 0.16, before anyone knew what a quasar was they were known to exist in the relativity recent universe. In standard cosmology they are not young galaxies but accreting SMBHs, the peak activity of such objects in standard cosmology happened 8-11 billion years ago.

But many quasars also exhibit anomalous redshift


Not anymore they don't. Periodic redshifts was an effect of very small samples of objects in small fields. The largest survey in existence today is SDSS, despite attempts no periodicity has been detected when selection effects are accounted for. See Tang & Zhang 2005. That same paper also addresses the claim of high redshift QSOs being associated with low redshift galaxies, there is no enhancement over random chance.
RNP
4 / 5 (16) Sep 12, 2016
@tinitus
You constantly reference Arp's 1977 paper, despite all the evidence you have been given, on MANY occasions, that these "anomalous redshitfs were a statistical artifact and do not actually exist. Your persistence in the face of all this evidence speaks volumes about both your scientific understanding AND your honesty.
Benni
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2016
this ......... speaks volumes about both your scientific understanding AND your honesty.


If you want to address issues of "evidence" & "honesty", how about if you read Stephan Hawkings April 2016 news conference release on lack of "evidence" for the existence of BHs. Have you bothered to do this yet in face of the number of times I've implored you to read it?

So have some "honesty" about yourself, tell us, have you read Hawkings press conference release? Just YES or NO will be fine, you don't need to go into a long & windy extrapolation about why Hawking didn't really mean what he said.

Definition of ASSTRO-PHYSICIST (sometimes spelled Astro-physicist): Someone who knows everything there is to know about anything that doesn't exist.
RNP
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 12, 2016
@Benni
If you really want me to comment then you will have to provide a link to this "news conference release".
wizardo
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2016
"Quasars are supermassive black holes..."
"Quasars are among the brightest objects..."

They are on the Dark Side, so they decided to outshine the Light Side, right?

Not being able to think rationally, people start to come up with a lot of meaningless mumbo-jumbo.
Benni
1.3 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2016
@Benni
If you really want me to comment then you will have to provide a link to this "news conference release".

I'm not a babysitter for anyone. If you are so lazy that you don't know how to find find a Search Engine & enter "Stephan Hawking BH comments on BH in April 2016", then you are not educationally competent of commenting in a science forum.
RNP
3.8 / 5 (13) Sep 12, 2016
@wizardo
"Quasars are supermassive black holes..."


They are caused by matter falling INTO supermassive black holes.

Quasars are among the brightest objects..."


The infalling matter creates the light, NOT the black hole.

You should try understanding the articles you read before you comment on them.
Benni
1.4 / 5 (11) Sep 12, 2016
You should try understanding the articles you read before you comment on them.
............and you should try reading News Conference releases by those who are a whole lot smarter than you are before you comment on them. Hawking in his April news conference release is very clear Event Horizons do not exist, this means there is no "infalling matter" creating "light"............whoops, sorry, that's right, you don't know how to use a Search Engine to find the multiple news outlets that published Hawkings comments during his April news conference. Have you ever heard of GOOGLE? Stephan Hawking?
RNP
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 12, 2016
@Benni
Don't be so childish You made a claim, now provide evidence. Or is it that you can't provide the link?
Benni
1.7 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2016
@Benni
Don't be so childish You made a claim, now provide evidence. Or is it that you can't provide the link?


Such a peculiar response of "childish"ness only highlights the fact that you don't have any interest in the advancement of science put forth by the most brilliant minds of this century. You see R-guy, I purposely did not create a link to a news outlet for you because I wanted to see what excuses you could come up with for remaining as mis-educated as you are about the subject matter under discussion, but you are a good Asstro-physicist, that I'll give you that credit, yep, you know everything there is to know about anything that doesn't exist.

RNP
3 / 5 (10) Sep 12, 2016
@Benni
Still no link. I thought not. By the way, your personal insults should embarrass YOU, they certainly do not embarrass me.
rogerdallas
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 12, 2016
@BartV What does not belong on this site, or any other science forum, is creationist drivel. Take your pathetic "holy" book and thump it elsewhere.
shavera
4.3 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2016
Benni, you're either illiterate (at least scientifically so) or intentionally misrepresenting Hawking's comments. Hawking isn't saying black holes "don't exist" in that there aren't physical phenomena where space-time curves so greatly that all futures point inward; he's saying that the idea that there's some little core 'point mass' at its center is probably not the correct description. (ie, that what you and only you refer to as 'infinite gravity well' doesn't exist)

What Hawking's saying is that the black hole is *only* the surface at the event horizon. That the interior 'doesn't exist' in a meaningful physical sense. The whole headline about 'black holes don't exist' is a cute statement, but it's a far more complex issue than you're presenting it as, either ignorantly or deceitfully.
Benni
1.8 / 5 (10) Sep 12, 2016
@Benni
Still no link. I thought not. By the way, your personal insults should embarrass YOU, they certainly do not embarrass me.


.........Hey, at least Shavo demonstrated he knows how to use a Search Engine to look up the news conference release, that's more than you've done so far.
RNP
4 / 5 (8) Sep 12, 2016
@shavera
Thanks for your contribution. Can YOU give me a link to the so called "news conference release" to which Benni is referring?

RNP
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2016
@To whom it may concern
I do not give a jot for your sockpuppet attacks. I do not judge myself on the basis of the opinions of such cowardly people.
Benni
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2016
@shavera
Thanks for your contribution. Can YOU give me a link to the so called "news conference release" to which Benni is referring?


You're just too lazy to figure how to do it yourself, so now you call on Shavo to explain to you how to do it? This is just a further demonstration of "obfuscation" from someone who has made this his go-to word when name calling others with whom you disagree. Shavo has to be embarrassed to be giving you such a litany of 5 Stars everytime you post, but I gave you a 5 for this admission of incompetence on your part.

Benni
2 / 5 (4) Sep 12, 2016
Who cares? You are an ignoramus.
..........a statement coming from a pseudo Asstro-physicist
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (10) Sep 12, 2016
.... and you should try reading News Conference releases by those who are a whole lot smarter than you are before you comment on them. Hawking in his April news conference release is very clear Event Horizons do not exist, ... no "infalling matter" creating "light"....... whoops, sorry, that's right, you don't know how to use a Search Engine to find the multiple news outlets that published Hawkings comments during his April news conference. Have you ever heard of GOOGLE? Stephan Hawking?

Actually - it's StephEn Hawking. And the comments you refer to are from Jan, 2014 by Zeeya Merali
He did not do away with an event horizon, he just renamed it "apparent" event horizon, which do hold and garble "information" - for a while, but eventually release it. That "blender" action is what causes activity energetic enuff to produce the extra light.
You really aughta look a little deeper into the articles you quote. Also - work on your use of elipsyses. I hate deleting all your periods.
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 12, 2016
@shavera
Thanks for your contribution. Can YOU give me a link to the so called "news conference release" to which Benni is referring?


RNP,
I believe this is it...
http://www.nature...0993:0:0
tinitus
Sep 13, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
RNP
4.4 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2016
@Whydening Gyre
Thanks for that, but Benni was talking about a "April 2016 news conference release", and there is no such thing evident on the internet. Still you are almost certainly right, he/she probably just had it all wrong again.

@Benni
So, is Whydening Gyre right? Have you been wasting my time looking for a nonexistent "news conference release"? I also reiterate WG's point. You really should read articles and understand them before you start quoting them.
Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 13, 2016
I'm not a babysitter for anyone
@benni=TROLL
for starters: your claim, so you prove it
for two: the claim isn't that there aren't black holes, but that they don't exist as most people think they do and that there is an issue with the event horizon (also note- this isn't validated either)
Most physicists foolhardy enough to write a paper claiming that "there are no black holes" — at least not in the sense we usually imagine...
- http://www.nature...-1.14583

for three: it was 2014 and the paper is also on arXiv, and it also doesn't say what you *think* or *believe* it says: http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.5761

if the technical paper is too hard for you to read, try actually re-reading shavera's post
Whydening Gyre
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 14, 2016
Bschott,
Just curious as to your reasoning for the downvote on my first comment, but not my second...
TopJimmy
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2016
I'm assuming benni is referencing this article: http://www.nature...-1.14583

I'm also pretty safe in saying he does not comprehend the article and what Hawking is actually trying to address.
Whydening Gyre
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 14, 2016
At one time you were what I would term an independent thinker here, and a lot of your insights carried more scientific merit than you gave yourself credit for....lately it looks like you signed a corporate contract restricting your comments to the perspective of the status quo...


Cuz lately, they match my thinking more closely than the (not) offered alternatives...:-)
As to Hawking changing his tune? He's just modifying it. Do I agree with that mod? Maybe, maybe not, the jury is still out. But he DOES have a foot up on me as to his info sources, so...
Regardless, Benni misrepresented the source and content of that article...
Whydening Gyre
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 14, 2016
So, now, BS... Why do YOU think BH phonemenon are so EM bright?
kulashaker
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 15, 2016
I've had an idea for a new TV show - "Phys.org cage fighting" - in which nerdy no-life tossers who exchange bullshit insults in the comments section are brought together to settle their differences with their fists in front of a baying crowd of we regular readers who are fed up to the back teeth of having to read their nonsense claims and pitifull agrguments.
Benni
2 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2016
Actually - it's StephEn Hawking. And the comments you refer to are from Jan, 2014 by Zeeya Merali
He did not do away with an event horizon, he just renamed it "apparent" event horizon, which do hold and garble "information" - for a while, but eventually release it. That "blender" action is what causes activity energetic enuff to produce the extra light.
You really aughta look a little deeper into the articles you quote. Also - work on your use of elipsyses. I hate deleting all your periods.


Woweee WG, a lot of artistic gymnastics there. I wonder if even you know what you said.
Benni
1 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2016

APPARENT EVENT HORIZONS............carry just one connotation to Nuclear Physicists, that Black Holes don't exist, this in spite of all the convoluted & distorted explanations Asstro-physicists here use to re-explain what Hawking meant.
Benni
1 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2016
You know nothing and you come here posing as if you know everything.
Something is really wrong with you.


When you talk to yourself, you should do it in isolation.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2016
Hi Phys1. :)

Really, mate, if you are going to chastise bschott, then make sure you yourself are on firm ground. The synchrotron radiation spectrum is HUGE in outer space conditions which involve synchrotron situations where electrons may be captured and follow MANY magnetic field curvatures of both small and large radii. Which means the SPECTRUM SPREAD of COSMIC BACKGROUND synchrotron radiation from distant outer space sources may be effectively INDISTINGUISHABLE from the other spectra from non-synchrotron emissions. Be more circumspect and polite in future, before going in with all your guns blazing....but shooting blanks!

Mate, it's time you stopped your personal feuding/goading; and just listen/discuss/learn; instead of making an ass of yourself which the 'cranks' you attack are having a high old time pointing to and LOL-ing about. If you want better from them, then give better yourself; else don't bother pretending the "phys" in your "Phys1" monicker means anything. OK?
Benni
3 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2016
Mate, it's time you stopped your personal feuding/goading
................RC, no, stop it with this civility crap, everybody wants entertainment from time to time. We need people challenging others for answers to questions which even they don't have, so they make up narratives that are so scientifically unprovable that the casual reader can't help but be amused.

By example of what I'm talking about; this guy knows all about GLUONS that existed within seconds of the Inflationary Big Bang over on another thread. I mean like hell's bells man, can you make up a narrative like that? You even get the impression he was there! I mean like how else could he know? The clown is no atheist, he worships himself.....all 5'-6" 275 lbs surrounded by a vast supply of potato chips to keep it all going.
RealityCheck
1 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2016
Hi Benni. :)

Mate, both you and Phys1 can still do all that, but do it civilly and without the personal crap. I just asked him to try discussing/challenging etc civilly and with circumspection about possible erroneous understandings on his part; and now I ask you the same. And I am not "everybody", mate: I Registered on this science site to politely discuss science news/ideas old and novel; not for "entertainment". If that is what you and Phys1 are here for, then don't pretend you care about the science; just admit you two are enjoying trolling and insulting each other regardless of the science/discussion. OK? I am neither you nor Phys1 nor anyone else; I am me, an independent, objective scientist trying to get the best out of the INTERNET AGE when it comes to doing SCIENCE and HUMANITY discourse and advancement....politely and seriously. If you want "entertainment", just switch on your TV reality shows/infotainment news programs. You, Phys1/Ira are being childish. OK? :)
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2016

APPARENT EVENT HORIZONS............carry just one connotation to Nuclear Physicists, that Black Holes don't exist,

Only the ones spending too much time manicuring their "ski trails"...
this in spite of all the convoluted & distorted explanations Asstro-physicists here use to re-explain what Hawking meant.

You mean someone explaining what Hawking said (almost verbatim) from a 2014 article?
BTW - do't you suppose that "brighter light" from the energetic photon at the "Apparent Event Horizon" can be a carrier of the information supposedly lost?
vidyunmaya
not rated yet Nov 08, 2016
Mixed up concepts add to cosmic confusion and Chaos- state of anarchy of minds set on wrong frames
Big-bang never happened. Super-massive black-hole psychology sets in to mislead
Wastage of brains trust in this century- how can nature or Philosophy help you ??

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