Galaxies

Brightest quasar in the early universe discovered

An article published in the journal “Astrophysical Journal Letters” reports the discovery of the brightest quasar in the early universe. A team of researchers used observations of the Hubble Space Telescope and some ground-based telescopes to identify the galaxy cataloged as J043947.08+163415.7 at a distance of about 12.8 billion light years from the Earth. The supermassive black hole at its center is surrounded by a lot of materials that emit the huge amount of light that allows it to be identified even at that enormous distance, but only thanks to a gravitational lensing effect. That activity dates back almost a billion years after the Big Bang.

A verification of dark matter heating

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” reports confirmations to the hypothesis of the effect known as dark matter heating. A team of researchers looked for the effects of the presence of dark matter in dwarf galaxies relatively close to the Milky Way, finding the confirmation that star formation can heat it causing it to move outwards. It’s a new possibility to study dark matter to try to understand its nature.

The Abell S1063 galaxy cluster (Image NASA, ESA, and M. Montes (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia))

An article published in the journal “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society” describes a new method to detect and map the dark matter existing in galaxy clusters with a higher precision than those used so far. Mireia Montes of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Ignacio Trujillo of the Canary Islands Institute of Astronomy, Spain, exploited the so-called intracluster light, the faint light within galaxy clusters produced by their interaction, detected in the Hubble Frontier Fields program, to map the distribution of dark matter within them.

The quasar 3C 273 (Image ESA/Hubble & NASA)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes the first detailed observation of the environment surrounding a supermassive black hole outside the Milky Way. A team of astronomers led by Professor Hagai Netzer of the Tel Aviv University used the GRAVITY instrument installed on ESO’s VLTI to examine the first quasar discovered, known as 3C 273, uncovering gas clouds that move quickly around the black hole that powers that quasar and forms its heart.

The brightest known galaxy is devouring its neighbors

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a study of the galaxy W2246-0526, the brightest known. A team of researchers used the ALMA radio telescope to examine it by uncovering streams of materials as they are stripped from three smaller galaxies orbiting it. In one case a “tidal tail” is generated, a large stram of materials that connects W2246-0526 with one of its satellites. According to an article published in “The Astrophysical Journal” the supermassive black hole at its center has a mass that’s about 4 billion times the Sun’s.