I am in the midst of one of my nerd sessions, currently studying information about quasars. Actually, I am watching an episode of The Universe on H2. This show is providing information about distant stars, how they are being discovered, details about their behavior, et cetera. One part of the show elaborated upon details of quasars, including their behavior, how they are identified, and even the nearest one to Earth. I was curious, so I had to look up additional details regarding the closest quasar.
Information on The Internet revealed that the first quasar that was recognized is 3C 273. It is situated within Virgo Constellation, roughly 2.4 billion light years away from Earth! 3C 273 is supposed to be one of the brightest known quasars at this time, with an absolute magnitude of -26.7! If this quasar was at a distance of thirty light years from Earth, it would be as bright as The Sun!
3C 273 ejects an energy beam of light from it’s core. This beam, referred to as a visible jet, is roughly 200,000 light years long! The beam is released from 3C 273, as this quasar is one of the objects currently recognized by astronomy studies as one of the most distant objects within the observable universe.
Quasar is the shortened version for the actual name of these celestial phenomena; quasi-stellar radio source. These are radio-detected signals from regions of recent supernovae, or from distant areas where stars are being formed. It is believed that quasars actually are the central regions of the most distant galaxies that can be detected.
Apparently, not all quasars emit radio waves. That detail likely is confusing, due to the actual name of the quasar. However, those that do produce radio emissions called synchotron radiation. The actual quasars are situated closely within magnetic from which these radio waves are released.
As quasars are recognized to be within the most distantly observable galaxies, their observation is a trip backward through spacetime. The nearest observable quasar to Earth is PKS 2349-014. It is estimated to be located at a distance of 1,500 million light years from our world. This quasar has two thin streams of stellar material, wisps, that surround it. PSK 2349-014 is situated within the core of a distant, elliptical galaxy.
Some studies reveal that PKS 2349-014 interacts with a companion galaxy, likely set to merge with this galaxy at a future point. The nearby galaxy currently is estimated to be at a distance of three kiloparsecs from the core of PKS 2349-014. These wisps are covered by a nebulous region, which appears to cover the entire quasar.
Interesting! I find the studies of the cosmos, and all that is being learned about the universe beyond our Earth, to be completely fascinating! Quasars are another intriguing aspect to the ever-intriguing universe of which we are slowly learning more and more about. Indeed, it was August 5, 1962 when the first quasar was identified by British astronomer Cyril Hazard while working with The University of Sydney.
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Alright. I have been out of this game for a minute, but I am back now (whoop-tee-dooh….)! I left with the topic of Planet Pluto, and that is where I find myself picking up the blog rants. I was doing some Internet browsing a little earlier, and I got to a current page of articles with space.com. As I am an astronomy studies advocate, I continue with my efforts to learn what I can learn about all that we are attempting to understand about outer space. The continuing conversations and contentions about Pluto still gain much interest, as I find myself still somewhat shaken by the (…ahem) demotion of the distant world!
It was during 2006 that the citizens of Earth, as lead by The International Astronomical Union, opted to remove the designation of planet from Pluto. During February of 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh was working at The Percival Lowell Observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona. Lowell was in the process of attempting to locate celestial objects orbiting beyond Neptune, the eighth planet of our solar system. It was February 18, 1930, when Pluto was discovered by Tombaugh, to be designated as our solar system’s ninth world. Yet, during 2006, astronomical observers of Earth, lead by Mike Brown and researchers at California Institute of Technology, were the determining factors in the removal of Pluto from it’s status as an official planet of our solar system.
Well, despite whatever Earth decides, Pluto remains at it’s distant orbital position from The Sun. It is seeming to have all of what it needs to maintain the designation of a planet, including an atmosphere of carbon monoxide, methane, and nitrogen (albeit frozen during the majority of it’s 248-year orbit of The Sun). Planet Pluto even has it’s own collection of moons!
The long-recognized Charon has been officially identified as the major moon of Pluto since 1978. It was later realized that Pluto and Charon are in a synchronous orbit, indicating that both bodies revolve around each other as they orbit The Sun. Additionally, Pluto hosts the moons Hydra and Nix, both discovered during 2005, along with S/2011 (134340) 1 and S2012 (134340) 1, recognized during 2011 and 2012, respectively.
This newly observed moon of Pluto currently is being called one of ten, or possibly more moonlets, that may be in orbit of Pluto! The New Horizons space probe is scheduled to fly by Pluto during 2015. It is being suggested that the current path of New Horizons is to be shifted, so that it will not collide with any previously unrecognized moons around Pluto. The topic of collisions and Pluto arises, as it is being suggested that Charon may have collided with Pluto at some past point, allowing for the formations of Hydra and Nix!
The general audience will have to wait a couple of years to get the latest updates on the actual status of Pluto. By 2o15, the New Horizons observations may allow for more intense revelations about the actual status of Pluto. The views of the distant world, having it’s own atmosphere, and it’s collection of many moons, just might allow it to regain it’s rightful designation as planet! What else are we looking for out there, people?
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