Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

April 9, 1998
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Quasar in an Elliptical Galaxy
Credit: J. S. Dunlop, R. J. McLure (U. Edinburgh), HST, NASA

Explanation: Where do quasars live? Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe, so bright they can be seen from across the universe. Observations continue to show that most quasars are surrounded by a relatively faint nebulous patch. Astronomers are trying to identify the nature of these patches. The above false-color picture shows a central quasar embedded in an unusual elliptical galaxy. The galaxy is being gravitationally distorted by a neighboring galaxy. Recent evidence indicates that most quasars live near the centers of large, elliptical galaxies - even those quasars where no host galaxy could be found before. Quasars themselves are thought to result from matter falling toward supermassive black-holes.

Tomorrow's picture: Comet Atmosphere

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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&: Michigan Tech. U.