Quasars are the light fantastic. These brilliant cores of active galaxies blaze with the radiance of a hundred billion stars compressed into a region of space not much larger than our solar system. Supermassive black holes, with millions or billions of times the mass of our sun, are the only imaginable powerhouse behind these tsunamis of raw energy.
Hubble Space Telescope astronomers set their sights on the nearest quasar to Earth, Markarian 231, located 581 million light-years away. Black holes – even supermassive ones – are too compact to be resolved by any present-day telescope. So, astronomers... Read more