Hubble Space Telescope's Camera Has Shut Down Due to a Hardware Issue

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 10, 2019

Astronomers used data from the Nasa/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope to find the ancient quasar, which they believe can provide an insight into the birth of galaxies when the Universe was about a billion years old.

Calculations found that the light had been significantly "redshifted" - a phenomenon where the wavelength of a beam of light expands over vast amounts of time and distance.

"Quasar" is short for quasi-stellar radio source, and describes bright centres of galaxies. It's burning brighter than 600 trillion suns.

The light from quasar J0439+1634, about 12.8 billion light-years away, bends as it passes by a galaxy roughly six billion light-years away.

A red shift value of 6.51 is one of the largest recorded by astronomers and helped to closely estimate the age of the quasar.

Astronomers said the quasar's brightness is equivalent to about 600 trillion suns, and the supermassive black hole powering it is several million times as massive as our sun.

The Hubble telescope's main instrument stopped working on 8 January due to a hardware problem, NASA said, according to the journal Nature. The discovery gives scientists a better look at the universe's early years and helps them understand how supermassive black holes form and evolve. By comparison, the Milky Way produces about one new star a year.

He added: 'That's something we have been looking for a long time. Luckily, the newly studied quasar and galaxy were just bright enough to be flagged as potential distant-universe objects.

Co-author Fabian Walter, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, said it was a prime candidate for further investigation.

Earth's atmosphere made deciphering the images hard and only by using Hubble were scientists able to identify the quasar image is split into three components.

The astronomers only came across it because of a galaxy in the foreground that acted as a gravitational lens - amplifying the ancient light from the quasar.

Astronomers also hope to use the Atacama Large Millimetre/Submillimetre Array and Nasa/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope, which wil be launched in 2021, to look at the supermassive black hole and measure the influence of its gravity on the surrounding gas and star formation.

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