Hubble Space Telescope's Camera Has Shut Down Due to a Hardware Issue

Four lasers beam into the sky to help sharpen images taken using the Very Large Telescope. Credit ESO  F. Kamphues

Data was collated from NASA, the ESA and the Gemini North telescope in Hawai'i.

'This is one of the first sources to shine as the Universe emerged from the cosmic dark ages, ' said Jinyi Yang of the University of Arizona, another member of the discovery team.

The light from quasar J0439+1634, about 12.8 billion light-years away, bends as it passes by a galaxy roughly six billion light-years away.

"We can even look for gas around the black hole and what the black hole may be influencing in the galaxy". The image is packed with bright star clusters and clouds of gas and dust.

Quasars are massive celestial objects which emit huge amounts of energy.

The old, trusty telescope also suffered a setback in early October past year, when one of its gyroscopes span out of control.

These energetic "engines" are bright emitters of light and radio waves.

The operations of the Hubble Space Telescope's most technologically advanced camera have been suspended after it encountered a hardware problem, NASA said.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Xiaohui Fan (University of Arizona) The spectroscopic data also allowed the researchers to estimate the mass of the quasar's central supermassive black hole; they calculated it at around 700 million times that of the sun.

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In comparison, the Milky Way produces about one new star a year.

He added: 'That's something we have been looking for a long time.

NASA will continue to study the quasar to find out more about its gas consumption and identify the chemical composition and temperatures of intergalactic gas in the early universe.

Co-author Fabian Walter, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, said it was a prime candidate for further investigation.

An artist's impression showing how J043947.08+163415.7, a very distant quasar powered by a supermassive black hole, may look close up.

Earth's atmosphere made deciphering the images hard and only by using Hubble were scientists able to identify the quasar image is split into three components.

Although its brightness is impressive, it was only thanks to gravitational lensing (caused by a dim galaxy between it and Earth), which bent the light and made it appear 50 times as bright, that scientists could see it.

Known as gravitational lensing, the gravitational field bends and amplifies the quasar's light.

Hubble has studied objects in our own solar system, discovering some of the tiny moons around Pluto.


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