Blazar in the early universe

The National Foundation for Very Long Base Science Foundation’s (VLBA) radio “vision” supersarpa revealed previously unseen details in a jet of material ejected at three-quarters of the light from the galaxy’s core about 12.8 billion light-years from Earth. The galaxy, called PSO J0309 + 27, is a blazar with a jet directed toward the Earth and is the brightest radio-transmitting blazar ever seen at such a distance. It is also the second largest blazar emitting X-rays at such a distance.

In this image, the brightest radio show comes from the core of the galaxy, bottom right. The jet is driven by the gravitational energy of a supermassive black hole in the core and moves up, left up. The jet seen here stretches for about 1,600 light-years and shows the structure in it.

At this distance you can see PSO J0309 + 27 as it was when the universe was less than a billion years old, or just over 7 percent of its current age.

An international team of astronomers, led by Cristian Spingol of the University of Bologna in Italy, observed the galaxy in April and May 2020. Their analysis of the object’s properties supports some theoretical models of why blazars are rare in the early universe. The researchers reported their results in a journal Astronomy and astrophysics.


The National Observatory for Radio Astronomy is a facility of the National Science Foundation, which operates under a joint university cooperation agreement, Inc.

CREDIT: Spingola et al .; Bill Saxton, NRAO / AUI / NSF.

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