The researchers observed the X-ray emission of the brightest quasar seen in the last 9 billion years of cosmic history, known as SMSS J114447.77-430859.3, or J1144 for short. The new perspective sheds light on the inner workings of quasars and how they interact with their environment. Research published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
It is hosted by a galaxy of 9.6 billion light years Far from Earth, between the planets Centaurus and Hydra, J1144 is extremely powerful, 100,000 billion times brighter than the Sun. J1144 is much closer to Earth than other sources of similar brightness, allowing astronomers to gain insight into the black hole powering the quasar and its surrounding environment.
The study was led by Dr. Elias Kammoun, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Research in Astrophysics and Planetary Science (IRAP), and Zsovi Ego, Ph.D. Candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE).
Quasars are among the brightest and most distant objects in the known universe, and they are powered by gas falling into a Giant black hole. can be described as active galactic nuclei (AGN) is a very high luminosity that emits huge amounts of electromagnetic radiation that can be observed in radio waves, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and X-rays. J1144 was initially observed at visible wavelengths in 2022 by the SkyMapper Southern Survey (SMSS).
In this study, the researchers combined observations from several space observatories: the eROSITA instrument aboard the Spectrum-Roentgen-Gamma Observatory (SRG), ESA’s XMM-Newton Observatory, NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), and NASA’s Neil Gehrels. Quick Observatory.
The team used data from the four observatories to measure the temperature of the X-rays emitted by the quasar. They found that this temperature is about 350 million K, more than 60,000 times the temperature on the surface of the Sun. The team also found that the mass of the black hole at the center of the quasar is about 10 billion times that of the Sun, and its growth rate is about 100 solar masses per year.
The X-ray light from this source differed on a time scale for a few days, which is not usually seen in quasars with black holes Sized for a person residing in J1144. A typical time scale for a black hole of this size would be on the order of months or even years. Observations have also shown that as the black hole swallows part of the gas, some of the gas is ejected in the form of very strong winds, injecting large amounts of energy into the host galaxy.
“We were very surprised that no previous X-ray observatory had detected this source despite its extreme power,” says Dr. Kamoon, lead author of the paper.
He adds: “Similar quasars are usually found at much greater distances, so they appear fainter, and we see them as they were when the universe was only 2-3 billion years old. J1144 is a very rare source because it is very luminous and much closer to Earth (although it is not are still very far away!), giving us a unique glimpse into what such powerful quasars look like.”
He added, “A new monitoring campaign for this source will start in June of this year, which may reveal more surprises from this unique source.”
ES Kammoun et al, First X-ray look at SMSS J114447.77-430859.3: the most luminous quasar in the last 9 Ger, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2023). DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stad952
Royal Astronomical Society
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