The brightest objects in the universe, quasars shine with the intensity of up to 1000 large galaxies but from a region that’s only about the size of our solar system.
Quasars, short for quasi-stellar radio sources, were discovered in the early 1960s by astronomers perplexed at why these points of light, which looked just like normal stars, were emitting radio waves. When Maarten Schmidt realized that the odd spectrum of a quasar was caused by its light being highly redshifted, he used Hubble’s Law to deduce the vast distances to these objects. For years astronomers debated what could produce so much energy in such a small volume. Now most are convinced that quasars lie in the centers of young galaxies, where supermassive black holes suck in passing stars and gas clouds. This material then forms an accretion disk around the black hole that gets heated by friction until it glows brightly