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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Distant Quasar Is Early Universe's Brightest Object
29 June 2011 1:00 pm
The light from this cosmic beacon took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth, but the sight was worth the wait. Astronomers say it is the most distant quasar, a massive black hole surrounded by luminous gas, that they have ever seen as well as the brightest object to be sighted in the early universe. Its distance means astronomers are seeing it blazing away at a time when the universe was merely 770 million years old, a team reports online today in Nature. The quasar's brilliance is powered by a monstrous black hole at its center that's 2 billion times more massive than the sun. The energy radiating from it would have contributed to the last phase of reionization of the early universe, the process that helped clear away the hydrogen fog shrouding the infant cosmos. More distant objects have been spotted in recent years, such as a gamma ray burst and a galaxy more than 13 billion light-years away, but this quasar is hundreds of times more luminous.
See more ScienceShots.