Famous for revealing the first true image of a black hole and the first black hole image of the Milky Way, the Event horizon telescope (EHT), a telescope array made up of radio antennas scattered around the world, has spotted a distant quasar called NRAO 530, whose light – one of the brightest in the Universe – traveled 7.5 billion years to reach this far here.
Quasars (short for “quasi-stellar radio sources”) are a type of galactic core that astronomers assume are powered by a very active supermassive black hole at its center, surrounded by material that is furiously absorbed by it.
The EHT was responsible for providing the first image of a black hole in history. In 2019, he photographed the heart of the M87 galaxy, 55 million light-years away. More recently, last year, it also captured the Milky Way’s galactic core, the black hole Sagittarius A*.
As highlighted on the website Scientific alarm, the observations lasted for years before we were finally able to form these images. Investigations of quasar NRAO 530 began in 2017, with the aim of calibrating the powerful radio telescope. Since this quasar is close to Sagittarius A* when seen in the sky, it is a popular calibration object for the Milky Way.
The telescope’s actual size provides unprecedented detail about these objects, points out one of the research leaders, Maciek Wielgus, of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany.
The light we see has traveled to Earth for 7.5 billion years through the expanding Universe, but with the power of the EHT we see the details of the source’s structure on a scale as small as a single light-year.
Maciek Wielgus, in response to Scientific alarm
NRAO 530 is an “optically violent variable” quasar, a rare type of quasar known for having a powerful and extremely fast jet. It is also classified as a blazar (because it has compact and highly variable energy).
This is a blazar oriented such that the jet is aimed directly or almost directly at the Earth, which is not dangerous.
From their observations, the team was able to determine the polarization of the light emitted by different parts of the structure. This refers to the orientation of the light’s oscillations, which can be affected by the magnetic fields through which it travels.
So far, NRAO 530 is the most distant object ever observed by the EHT and could allow more impressive details of distant objects to be observed in the future, as well as support future research on blazars and quasars.
The post Quasar photographed by the EHT is among the brightest in the Universe first appeared in Olhar Digital.
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