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News Release 157 of 325

September 14, 2005 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2005-13

Black Hole in Search of a Home

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September 14, 2005: A team of European astronomers has used two of the most powerful astronomical facilities available, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal, to find a bright quasar without a massive host galaxy. Quasars are powerful and typically very distant sources of prodigious amounts of radiation. They are commonly associated with galaxies containing an active central black hole. The team confidently concludes that the quasar on the left, HE0450-2958 (in the center, distance about 5 billion light-years) does not have a massive host galaxy. The quasar HE1239-2426 to the right (at a distance of 1.5 billion light-years), has a normal host galaxy which displays large spiral arms.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, ESO, Frédéric Courbin (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland) & Pierre Magain (Universite de Liege, Belgium)