Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quasi-stellar radio sources.

The Sombrero Galaxy. Image source

Quasars are supposedly among the brightest, most powerful and enthusiastic (energetic) objects in the universe. There has been a controversy raging about these far away objects for more than half a century.  A long, long time ago in a country far, far removed from where I am now, Astronomers were using radio telescopes to scan the heavens and matching their findings up with what they were seeing through optical telescopes. They came across quite a few anomalies though, there were small Point source objects that just didn't add up nor did they have a matching visual buddy. In order to give them a name there was another difficulty, naming them would not help with determining what they were. Because they seemed to be coming from a star like object they decided to call them Quasi-stellar radio sources, Quasars. I bet you didn't know that Quasi-stellar radio sources means Quasar, I certainly didn't.
Today scientists have come to the unproven conclusion that these strange very high energy particles are jets streaming out from the centers of galaxies with super massive black holes at near light speed. I say unproven because we still don't know whether black holes do exist or not, it's only a theory.
These radio waves we are receiving are very broad spectrum waves starting from X-rays all the way to far-infrared. They seem to peak in the visual ultra-violet wave band but some are very powerful in the radio and Gama wave lengths. If this doesn't seem to make any sense to you right now, don't worry, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either. These things are billions of miles away and the chances of us managing to understand them completely is very remote so it doesn't bother me much.
All I can say about these strange far off objects is that they seem to be catching the attention of some of the worlds most capable astronomers, good luck chaps.
Blessings from South Africa, home of the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, Geoff.

1 comment:

  1. My goodness, what an interesting blog! It is mind-boggling to me...galaxies, and black holes (which I didn't know weren't a fact), the planets, the stars...all of it...that we are such a tiny, tiny part of!
    Margaret’s Musings