Astronomers have located a superheated region of dust and gas emitting jets seventy times hotter than was previously thought possible.
Telescope RadioAstron was aimed at quasar 3C 273, one of the most luminous known quasars over 2.4 billion light-years away, and with a brilliance 4 trillion times that of the sun. It’s located in the center of galaxy, so it has been extremely hard to study up until now. RadioAstron is special from other telescopes in that it operates at radio wavelengths – and it’s this difference that is unlocking new cosmic discoveries.
A model suggests that these jets have the potential to reach up to 100 billion degrees kelvin, but the team at RadioAstron have found different, hotter evidence. Something this bright is bound to be very, very hot says Dr. Yuri Kovalev, a RadioAstron scientist.
“We measure the effective temperature of the quasar core to be hotter than 10 trillion degrees! This result is very challenging to explain with our current understanding of how relativistic jets of quasars radiate.”
RadioAstron has been beaming back data since 2011 and is expected to bring us new and exciting discoveries in the future. The telescope has an immense range of 171,000 kilometers (106,000 miles) which has astronomers pining for the next unseen views of the cosmos.
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