Simulated Webb Images of Quasar and Galaxy Surrounding Quasar

Simulated Webb Images of Quasar and Galaxy Surrounding Quasar

Very distant, active supermassive black holes are the brightest beacons in the universe. Known as quasars, these behemoths are surrounded by equally distant galaxies. In recent decades, researchers have gone on a cosmic treasure hunt and identified the three most distant quasars known over the last three years – each more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. Astronomers theorize that it can take billions of years for supermassive black holes and their accompanying galaxies to form.

How is it possible that these quasars became so gigantic, with billions of solar masses, in the first 700 million years of the universe? Once you can see past their glare, what do their accompanying galaxies look like? And what do their “neighborhoods” look like?

These are questions Xiaohui Fan and Jinyi Yang, both of the University of Arizona, and Eduardo Banados, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, with an international team of astronomers, will pursue with observations taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. “These are really valuable objects,” Fan said. “We structured this program to learn everything we could think of so our team and the greater astronomical community can fully explore these quasars.”

Webb’s sensitivity to infrared light – including mid-infrared wavelengths that can only be captured from space – will allow the team to observe these objects, whose light has traveled for 13 billion years and has had its wavelengths stretched from ultraviolet and visible light into infrared light. Webb has unmatched sensitivity and spatial resolution, which will reveal complex structures in these distant objects.

The team plans to observe and analyze the data on three scales: closely examining the quasars themselves, studying the stars in the surrounding host galaxies after removing the quasars’ light, and classifying the galaxies that lie nearby. “These quasars are very special objects,” explained Banados. “That is why we want to provide the best characterization possible of each with Webb.”

‘Zooming’ in – and out
Fan, Yang, and Banados are wasting no opportunity: They will use almost every available instrument on Webb to observe these quasars. First, they will refine the measurements of the mass of each supermassive black hole. “The existence of these black holes challenges theoretical models,” Yang said. “We want to obtain more accurate measurements of their masses to improve our understanding of how they formed and grew so quickly.”

To increase the precision of existing measurements from other observatories, they’ll turn to spectra – data that detail an object’s physical properties, including mass and chemical composition, delivered by Webb’s Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). This will allow the team to produce more accurate black hole masses.

Next, they will focus on revealing the galaxies behind the quasars’ bright light. They will take very deep, detailed images of each target with Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) and then use computer models to remove the quasars’ light from each.

The final, processed images will give them the first views of the light from the stars in the host galaxies. The team will also obtain spectra with Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). No one can fully predict what they’ll learn. Were these ancient galaxies more compact? Do their stars contain more than hydrogen and helium? Webb will certainly yield new insights!

The team will also obtain spectra of both the quasars and their host galaxies to trace how gas is moving in the host galaxies and determine if the active supermassive black holes are sending out hot winds that heat the galaxies’ gas. Although no one can watch a complete feedback loop in real time (it takes millions of years!), they can sample what’s present with NIRSpec and begin to observe the connections between the quasars and their host galaxies.

They will also “zoom out” to see galaxies near these quasars. Webb’s expansive, high-resolution observations will help the team characterize the galaxies that are in the neighborhood by employing Webb’s Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) and NIRCam.

Finally, the researchers will also sample the large-scale environments around the quasars – the characteristics of the gas and dust. What was the universe like 700 or 800 million years after the big bang? This was a period known as the Era of Reionization, when the gas between galaxies was largely opaque. Only after the first billion years of the universe did the gas become fully transparent, allowing light to travel more easily.

The team will measure everything that is between us and the quasars with NIRSpec. “We know that these quasars exist when the universe was about fifty percent neutral,” Banados explained. “These targets represent an important age of the universe – essentially the peak of this transition. Webb will provide new constraints about what this period was like.”

Fan, Yang, and Banados will share the riches of this thorough observation program by releasing data and tools to the astronomical community to accelerate overall research of quasars in the early universe. “Webb will help us make the next quantum leap in understanding these objects,” said Fan.

News Related


Facebook trumpets massive new supercomputer

Facebook’s parent company Meta announced on Monday it was launching one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to boost its capacity to process data, despite persistent disputes over privacy and ... Read more »

Orbital Insertion Burn a Success, Webb Arrives at L2

At 2 pm EST Monday, Webb fired its onboard thrusters for nearly five minutes (297 seconds) to complete the final postlaunch course correction to Webb’s trajectory. This mid-course correction burn ... Read more »

New location, same ASIM

The first-of-its-kind complement of instruments dubbed the ‘space storm hunter’ hangs out in its new location outside the International Space Station in this image taken by on of the Station’s ... Read more »

NASA prepares final rocket tests for first Artemis moon mission launch

NASA is preparing the huge Space Launch System moon rocket for final tests on a Kennedy Space Center launchpad in February that would clear the way for a moon launch ... Read more »

NASA Solar Sail Mission to Chase Tiny Asteroid After Artemis I Launch

NEA Scout will visit an asteroid estimated to be smaller than a school bus – the smallest asteroid ever to be studied by a spacecraft. Launching with the Artemis I ... Read more »

Ariane 6 upper stage readies for tests at Europe's Spaceport

The central core of ESA’s new generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle arrived at Europe’s Spaceport on 18 January and is now inside the launch vehicle assembly building. Ariane 6’s central ... Read more »

STEM student experiments win Flight Opportunity in NASA Tech Contest

NASA selected 57 winning teams in an inaugural nationwide challenge designed to attract, engage, and prepare future science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals. The winning teams of the NASA TechRise ... Read more »

TACC supercomputers help scientists probe vortices and turbulence

The subject of vortices might seem esoteric. But their impact does make TACC supercomputers help scientists probe vortices and turbulences, as seen recently in an outbreak of tornadoes, swirling vortices ... Read more »

China's new generation carrier rocket Long March-8 ready for launch

China plans to launch its new generation carrier rocket Long March-8 Y2 between late February and early March from the southern island of Hainan, sources with the China Academy of ... Read more »

Rusting iron can be its own worst enemy

Iron that rusts in water theoretically shouldn’t corrode in contact with an “inert” supercritical fluid of carbon dioxide. But it does. The reason has eluded materials scientists to now, but ... Read more »

Using ice to boil water

Associate Professor Jonathan Boreyko and graduate fellow Mojtaba Edalatpour have made a discovery about the properties of water that could provide an exciting addendum to a phenomenon established over two ... Read more »

Cosmonauts complete first spacewalk of 2022 to prepare Russian ISS segment

Two Russian cosmonauts completed the first spacewalk of 2022 outside the International Space Station to perform tasks that will allow spacecraft to dock with a new Russian segment. Anton Shkaplerov ... Read more »

OneWeb and Hughes to bring orbital broadband service to India

OneWeb, the low Earth orbit satellite communications company, and Hughes Network Systems LLC has announced a strategic six-year Distribution Partner agreement to provide low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity services across ... Read more »

Lion will roam above the planet - KP Labs to release their "king of orbit"

KP Labs is beginning to work on an expansion of its product portfolio with an on-board computer for small satellites that will streamline and speed up on-orbit data processing, as ... Read more »

Looking Up at the Asteroids in the Neighborhood

Asteroids fly through our solar system all the time, but it’s rare for us to take notice of them. But that’s changed this week, as an asteroid passes within 1,231,184 ... Read more »

RIT scientists confirm a highly eccentric black hole merger for the first time

For the first time, scientists believe they have detected a merger of two black holes with eccentric orbits. According to a paper published in Nature Astronomy by researchers from Rochester ... Read more »

Worldwide coordinated search for dark matter

An international team of researchers with key participation from the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) has published for the ... Read more »

Towards quantum simulation of false vacuum decay

Phase transitions are everywhere, ranging from water boiling to snowflakes melting, and from magnetic transitions in solids to cosmological phase transitions in the early universe. Particularly intriguing are quantum phase ... Read more »

NASA Offers $1 Million for Innovative Systems to Feed Tomorrow's Astronauts

As NASA prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before, the agency aims to upgrade production of a critical fuel source: food. Giving future explorers the technology ... Read more »

China satellite in close encounter with Russian debris: state media

A Chinese satellite had a near collision with one of the many chunks of debris left by the fallout of a recent Russian anti-satellite missile test, state media reported. Moscow ... Read more »

Russia's only female cosmonaut to travel to space in September

Russia’s sole active female cosmonaut, Anna Kikina, is due to travel to the International Space Station in September on a Soyuz rocket, the national space agency said Thursday. Kikina, a ... Read more »

Scientists are a step closer to finding planets like Earth

The UK Space Agency has invested 25 million pounds in innovative science for the European Space Agency mission, called Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO), ensuring UK scientists and ... Read more »

Crash test dummy

Crash test dummies are used for testing spacecraft, not just cars. This example is a veteran of an ambitious past project to develop a small spaceplane. The X-38 Crew Return ... Read more »

Russian cosmonauts conduct EVA to complete Nauka Lab Module integration to ISS

Russia launched the multipurpose laboratory module “Nauka” from the Baikonur cosmodrome on 21 July and it docked at the ISS on 29 July. Watch a live broadcast from the International ... Read more »

ASU astronomer finds star fuel surrounding galaxies

Most galaxies, including our own, grow by accumulating new material and turning them into stars – that much is known. What has been unknown is where that new material comes ... Read more »

Capturing all that glitters in galaxies with NASA's Webb

Spirals are some of the most captivating shapes in the universe. They appear in intricate seashells, carefully constructed spider webs, and even in the curls of ocean waves. Spirals on ... Read more »

China's rocket technology hits the ski slopes

Who would ever have thought that technology used on China’s largest carrier rocket would be used to improve the safety of skiers? Chinese scientists have developed a strong ski helmet ... Read more »

NASA's James Webb telescope completes mirror alignment, heads for orbit

NASA’s James Webb telescope completed alignment all 18 of its primary mirror segments and the secondary mirror on Wednesday, the agency reported. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson shared the news, tipping ... Read more »

Liberty Strategic Capital to invest $150 Million in Satellogic and CF Acquisition Corp V

Satellogic, a leader in sub-meter resolution satellite imagery collection, currently 70 centimeters, and CF Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, announced that they have secured ... Read more »

Rocket Lab readies first 2022 Electron Launch, BlackSky adds another mission to manifest

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has announced the launch window for its first Electron mission in 2022, a dedicated mission for BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY) through global launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. ... Read more »

Wanted: recycling methods to keep astronauts alive

It took a crop of potatoes to keep Matt Damon alive on the red planet in The Martian. And in future, real life astronauts on the Moon and Mars will ... Read more »

Hubble Finds a Black Hole Igniting Star Formation in a Dwarf Galaxy

Often portrayed as destructive monsters that hold light captive, black holes take on a less villainous role in the latest research from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. A black hole at ... Read more »

The secrets of ancient Japanese tombs revealed thanks to satellite images

A research group at the Politecnico di Milano analysed the orientation of ancient Japanese tombs – the so-called Kofun. This study has never been carried out before, due to the ... Read more »

NASA satellite servicing technologies licensed by Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman recently signed agreements to license three technologies from NASA related to satellite servicing. Two of the technologies were developed by NASA for the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing ... Read more »

New AI navigation prevents crashes

What do you call a broken satellite? Today, it’s a multimillion-dollar piece of dangerous space junk. But a new collision-avoidance system developed by students at the University of Cincinnati is ... Read more »

For the first time, scientists rigorously calculate three-particle scattering from theory

The goal of nuclear physics is to describe all matter from its simplest building blocks: quarks and gluons. Found deep inside protons and neutrons, quarks and gluons also combine in ... Read more »

UH engineers discover method to create upward water fountain in deep water

A pair of University of Houston engineers has discovered that they can create upward fountains in water by shining laser beams on the water’s surface. Jiming Bao, professor of electrical ... Read more »

New study sheds light on origins of life on Earth

Addressing one of the most profoundly unanswered questions in biology, a Rutgers-led team has discovered the structures of proteins that may be responsible for the origins of life in the ... Read more »

Particles formed in boreal forests affect clouds in the troposphere

A new study shows that through aerosol formation and growth, the forests are capable of mitigating climate change and have a regional effect on the climate of an entire continent ... Read more »

Arianespace to launch Microcarb on Vega C

Arianespace has been awarded a launch contract by ESA, on behalf of the European Commission, to launch Microcarb in 2023 on Vega C. Microcarb is a 190kg satellite developed by ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic