What did the first quasars look like?
The nearest quasars
are now known to be
supermassive black holes
in the centers of galaxies
. Gas and dust
that falls toward a
glows brightly, sometimes outglowing the entire home galaxy. The quasars
that formed in the first billion years of the universe are more mysterious, though,
with even the nature of the surrounding gas still unknown. Above
, an artist's impression shows a primordial quasar as it might have been, surrounded by sheets of gas, dust, stars, and early star clusters.Exacting observations
of three distant quasars now
emission of very specific colors of the element
. These Hubble Space Telescope
observations, which bolster recent results
, indicate that a whole complete cycle of stars was born, created this iron, and died within the first
few hundred million years of the universe.
Wolfram Freudling et al.