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Quasars found in ordinary galaxies
Posted: Wed, May 26, 2004, 10:22 AM ET (1422 GMT)
Quasar illustration (Gemini Obs./Jon Lomberg) Brilliant quasars appear to be based in rather ordinary galaxies, and not large or disrupted ones as previously thought, astronomers said Tuesday. Infrared observations by the Gemini Observatory of distant quasars, each about 10 billion light-years away, were in all but one case unable to detect the galaxy the quasar is located in; astronomers called the one galaxy they were able to observe "remarkably unremarkable". These findings led astronomers to conclude that the galaxies these quasars are located in are relatively ordinary, similar in many respects to the Milky Way. Quasars are thought to be supermassive black holes powered by large quantities of infalling matter, leading them to previously speculate that such objects would be located in the centers of very large galaxies, or the remnants of galactic collisions.
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