Hubble Resolves Quasars' Host Galaxies
This Hubble telescope image [right] reveals a faint galaxy, the home of a quasar. The wealth of new detail in this picture helps solve a three-decade-old mystery about the true nature of quasars, the most distant and energetic objects in the universe.
The picture clearly shows that the quasar, called 1229+204, lies in the core of a galaxy that has a common shape, consisting of two spiral arms of stars connected by a bar-like feature. The host galaxy is in a spectacular collision with a dwarf galaxy. That collision apparently fuels the quasar "engine" at the galaxy's center - presumably a massive black hole - and also triggers many sites of new star-formation. A ground-based telescope also snapped a view of the quasar and its host galaxy [left].