Astronomers Discover Distant Quasar
Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico have announced the discovery of the most remote object in the known universe, a quasar with a red shift of 5.8. The 10-m W.M. Keck telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii measured the quasar's spectrum and confirmed that the light left it less than a billion years after the big bang. Researchers have identified objects with red shifts potentially greater than 6 but have not measured their spectra.
The survey, which digitally images the sky in five precise color bands, will observe more than 200 million deep-space objects over 10,000 square degrees. The project has revealed approximately 1000 quasars, highly luminous but compact objects thought to be powered by black holes of up to a billion solar masses.
Image courtesy of Stephen Kent, Sloan Digital Sky Survey Collaboration.
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