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The most luminous and some of the most distant of all objects in the universe. They radiate between 10 and 100,000 times as much energy as our entire galaxy from an energy source that is no larger than our solar system. Such a compact source may be a supermassive black hole surrounded by an accretion disk of matter falling into the hole. The matter is heated to millions of degrees, making the accretion disk glow brightly.

Radio Programs

Merging Quasars Pairs of black holes get closer December 16, 2015

Early Beacon A bright beacon in the early universe May 28, 2015

Quasars An astronomical contradiction May 27, 2015

False Alarm A hint of an interstellar radio station May 26, 2015

Getting Away Escaping from a black hole in a hurry May 9, 2013

Quasars IV An astronomical navigation system February 7, 2013

Quasars III The glory days for a black hole February 6, 2013

Quasars II Lighting up a distant galaxy February 5, 2013

Quasars The long-range secret of odd “stars” February 4, 2013

Featured Images

Artist's concept of a distant quasar

Fiery Galaxy February 5, 2013

A thick torus of dust encircles a quasar

Water Works September 13, 2011

Streamers of dust partially obscure the "seven sisters," members of the Pleiades

Veiled Sisters April 6, 2011

Infrared view of planetary nebula NGC 4361 in Corvus

Cotton-Candy Star April 3, 2011

Hubble view of Hanny's Voorwerp and the galaxy IC 2497

In the Spotlight January 11, 2011