Using VST ATLAS and WISE surveys astronomers have identified two new bright high-redshift quasars. The newly found quasi-stellar objects, designated VST-ATLAS J158.6938-14.4211 and VST-ATLAS J332.8017-32.1036, could be helpful in improving our understanding of the evolution of the universe. The finding is reported March 4 in a paper published on arXiv.org.
From ESO-Cast and the European Southern Observatory. Astronomers have discovered the most distant quasar found to date. This brilliant beacon, powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun, is by far the brightest object yet discovered in the early Universe.
Quasars are extremely bright, distant galaxies thought to be powered by supermassive black holes at their centers. These powerful beacons may help astronomers to probe the era when the first stars and galaxies were forming.
The quasar that has just been found is seen as it was only 770 million years after the Big Bang, at redshift 7.1. It took 12.9 billion years for its light to reach us.
Although more distant objects have been confirmed, such as a gamma-ray burst at redshift 8.2, and a galaxy at redshift 8.6, the newly discovered quasar is hundreds of times brighter than these. Among any other object bright enough to be studied in detail, this is the most distant by a large margin.