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Robin Leigh Anderson
Robin Leigh Anderson • 1 year ago

A Primordial Quasar - The nearest quasars are now known to be supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies. Gas and dust that falls toward a quasar 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.

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Situated in rich star fields and glowing hydrogen gas, these opaque clouds of interstellar dust and gas are so large they might be able to form stars. IC 2944, a bright stellar nursery located about 5,900 light years away toward the constellation of Centaurus. The largest of these dark globules, first spotted by astronomer A. D. Thackeray in 1950, is likely two separate but overlapping clouds, each more than one light-year wide.

A supermassive black hole lies at the center of this turbulent mix of multimillion-degree gas, dust, and cold gas in the galaxy Centaurus A.