Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

What are quasars made of?

What are Quasars made of ? Are they just like our stars (huge ones) or something else ? How far are they from us ?

Quasars are some of the most distant objects that Astronomers observe. They look like stars in optical light so when they were first discovered this is what they were believed to be. It was later worked out that they are incredibly far away so to be as bright as stars they must be emitting HUGE amount of light. Many of them are also very bright in the radio. Another part of the puzzle came along when it was discovered that they are also quite small by Astrophysical standards - just the size of our solar system. The only way to generate such huge amounts of energy in such a small region of space (which is known today) is from matter falling on to a Black Hole. As such it is believed that Quasars are massive black holes in the centres of young galaxies.

January 2001, Karen Masters (more by Karen Masters) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

Related questions:

More questions about Black Holes and Quasars: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

URL: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=353
This page has been accessed 32073 times since October 25, 2002.
Last modified: October 25, 2002 4:34:59 PM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)