With the aid of the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers were able to disclose the enigmatic early developmental years of quasars. The observations revealed chaotic collisions of galaxies and quasars powdered by supermassive black holes. Astronomers used Hubble’s infrared vision and considerable enveloped quasars in dust, dimming the optical spectra and allowing to gaze into the host galaxy.

What is a quasar?

This types of quasi-stellar radio sources are the most luminous and energetic objects in the universe. They lie in the center of active young galaxies and emit more than a thousand times the energy contained in the Milky Way.

Most quasar were created approximately 12 billion years ago during collisions of galaxies. They´re believed to be powered by supermassive black holes located in the center of distant galaxies.

Observation technique

The enormous luminosity of a quasar outshines the most essential details of its host galaxy, making the features of mergers not easy to observe. Peering at quasars that are significantly surrounded by dust, scientists were able to take a better look into the galaxy´s details. This was done using Telescope Hubble´s infrared technology and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Quasar formation

The gravitational forces deprive a great amount of the angular momentum that maintains gas floating in the disks of merging galaxies.

When galaxies finally fuse, gravity triggers the sinking of of gas directly into the accretion disk of a supermassive black hole. When the black hole accrues enough material it converts it into a stream of radiation that illuminates their part of the universe; however, because they´re very distant from earth, they can only be seen in the infra-red spectrum.

Candidates for this study

The objects of study were dust-reddened quasars, as the active galaxies in this stage of evolution show their luminosity in the optical spectrum, allowing the observation of their features in the radio and infra-red spectrum, which is not easily opaqued as other radiations.