Plasma-spewing quasar shines light on universe's youth, early galaxy formation

Plasma-spewing quasar shines light on universe's youth, early galaxy formation
Artist's conception of a radio jet spewing out fast-moving material from the newly discovered quasar, which formed within the first billion years of the universe's existence. Credit: Artwork by Robin Dienel, Carnegie Institution for Science

Carnegie's Eduardo Bañados led a team that found a quasar with the brightest radio emission ever observed in the early universe, due to it spewing out a jet of extremely fast-moving material.

Bañados' discovery was followed up by Emmanuel Momjian of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which allowed the team to see with unprecedented detail the jet shooting out of a quasar that formed within the universe's first billion years of existence.

The findings, published in two papers in The Astrophysical Journal, will allow astronomers to better probe the universe's youth during an important period of transition to its current state.

Quasars are comprised of enormous black holes accreting matter at the centers of massive . This newly discovered quasar, called PSO J352.4034-15.3373, is one of a rare breed that doesn't just swallow matter into the black hole but also emits a jet of plasma traveling at speeds approaching that of light. This jet makes it extremely bright in the frequencies detected by radio telescopes. Although quasars were identified more than 50 years ago by their strong radio emissions, now we know that only about 10 percent of them are strong radio emitters.

What's more, this newly discovered quasar's light has been traveling nearly 13 billion of the universe's 13.7 billion years to reach us here in Earth. P352-15 is the first quasar with clear evidence of radio jets seen within the first billion years of the universe's history.

"There is a dearth of known strong radio emitters from the universe's youth and this is the brightest radio quasar at that epoch by an order of magnitude," Bañados said.

"This is the most-detailed image yet of such a bright galaxy at this great distance," Momjian added.

The Big Bang started the universe as a hot soup of extremely energetic particles that were rapidly expanding. As it expanded, it cooled and coalesced into neutral hydrogen gas, which left the universe dark, without any luminous sources, until gravity condensed matter into the first stars and galaxies. About 800 million years after the Big Bang, the energy released by these first galaxies caused the neutral hydrogen that was scattered throughout the universe to get excited and lose an electron, or ionize, a state that the gas has remained in since that time.

It's highly unusual to find jet-emitting such as this one from the period just after the universe's lights came back on.

"The jet from this quasar could serve as an important calibration tool to help future projects penetrate the dark ages and perhaps reveal how the earliest galaxies came into being," Bañados concluded.


Explore further

Scientists observe supermassive black hole in infant universe

More information: Eduardo Bañados et al, A Powerful Radio-loud Quasar at the End of Cosmic Reionization, The Astrophysical Journal (2018). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aac511
Journal information: Astrophysical Journal

Citation: Plasma-spewing quasar shines light on universe's youth, early galaxy formation (2018, July 9) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-07-plasma-spewing-quasar-universe-youth-early.html
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Jul 09, 2018
The reionization epoch is but another faerie tale of the big bang religious pseudoscience.

Jul 09, 2018
The reionization epoch is but another faerie tale of the big bang religious pseudoscience.


Aaaannddd.... another idiot. Boring, isn't it? Predictable, isn't it? Unqualified, eh? Woo merchant, yes? And on it goes. Science progresses, the uneducated tossers keep throwing sh1t at the bus. And keep missing. Dicks.

Jul 09, 2018
The truth is that the reionization of neutral H was happening continuously since the first instant that the very first star started emitting UV of the proper frequency. It is just that the estimated clearance time for nearly all to be gone was on the order of 600-800 million years. This doesn't mean that areas of the universe more populated with stars didn't clear somewhat faster, or voids somewhat slower.

The way I have seen this described in most articles, including this one, implies that this was an event rather than a process which is just not the case.

Jul 10, 2018
The reionization epoch is but another faerie tale of the big bang religious pseudoscience.


Aaaannddd.... another idiot. Boring, isn't it? Predictable, isn't it? Unqualified, eh? Woo merchant, yes? And on it goes. Science progresses, the uneducated tossers keep throwing sh1t at the bus. And keep missing. Dicks.

says jonesdave

You are fast becoming a woo merchant yourself. You haven't said a single thing to help alleviate CD85s misconception wrt the theory of the Big Bang that allegedly began the expansion of the universe. Instead of educating, you fumble for the proper insults that only serve to further CD85s disassociation to the theory which, in all likelihood, is the proper one. You could use some self-improvement in civility.

yep
Jul 10, 2018
Unlikely the theological construct of the Big Bang is the proper theory. In considering EM you eliminate the need for dark matter and energies. Plasmoids scaled up can account for all the phenomena attributed to black holes and the centers of galaxies from polar jets to all their other emissions. It's that easy. No need for the non-falsifiable physics defying black magic nonsense. Take a look at some of the scientific papers on plasmoids and it's easy to see why that is plausible unless your faith in the miracle of Big Bang is sacrosanct which makes one a theologian not a scientist.

Jul 10, 2018
It's no shame or an insult to talk about those who believe in the Big Bang, that they are a lot bigger ignoramuses and people's plagiarism than it's "big" your BB. To believe in something that came from nothing, it is a proof that it's all nothing and that it has nothing to do with natural laws. As some scientists can make some conclusions and claims about celestial bodies and their properties, they know nothing about what matter is, from which it forms and forms. These are people without any level of awareness. LEARN, ALL: The universe is a sphere of infinite radius, filled with substance Aether from which matter is formed.

Jul 10, 2018
The first celestial bodies are formed from quarks of gluon plasma (magnetars), from which quasars, pulsars, neutron stars and supernames are formed, which, when they explode, form a gas of molecules, and from that gas stellar systems are formed (using gravity that returns this matter back in the form of Aethera - these are black holes.)
All those who do not know the structure of the universe and do not recognize the existence of the Spiritual Entity of the Universe (SEU) are just a few of the living beings at the border of instinct and intellect, without consciousness, which represents the power of understanding the true causes of phenomena in the universe and in us, patent from SEU.

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