Brightest quasar in 9 billion years of cosmic history discovered

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of astronomers announces the discovery of a new bright quasi-stellar object, or quasar. This newly discovered source, designated SMSS J114447.77-430859.3 (J1144 for short), is the brightest quasar known in the last 9 billion years of the universe‘s history.

Quasars are active nuclei of galaxies that are very luminous and emit electromagnetic radiation that is observed in the radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet (UV) and X-ray ranges. They are considered among the brightest and most distant objects in the known universe and serve as fundamental tools in astrophysical and cosmological research.

Astronomers led by Christopher A. Onken of the Australian National University recently conducted a spectroscopic study of a bright, blue point source selected from data analysis from SkyMapper Southern Survey Data Release 2 (SMSS DR2). As a result of this new study, the source J1144 was found to be a quasar with a redshift of 0.83.

According to the paper, quasar J1144 has a bolometric luminosity of 470 qttordecillion (470*10^45) ergs per second, making it one of the brightest quasars in the last 9 billion years of the Universe‘s existence. It can also rightly be considered the brightest quasar with a redshift of more than 0.4.

Astronomers believe that the mass of the black hole of the object J1144 is about 2.6 billion solar masses. An estimate of the size of the object from the region of emission of beta-hydrogen lines led the researchers to a value of 1200 light days.

Summing up, the authors of the work explained how the properties of the J1144 quasar can be useful for future research.

“The properties of the unusually bright quasar J1144 can be used for other research purposes. For example, UV spectroscopy of the J1144 source may provide an opportunity to study the intergalactic medium in the vicinity of the Milky Way,” the authors noted in the paper.

In addition, the authors added that a spectroscopic campaign conducted using the Australian National University’s 2.3-meter telescope has already identified 80 new, bright quasars. Therefore, this new study is an important contribution to the “census” of bright quasars in the Universe.

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