The Brightest Objects in The Universe: Quasars

The luminosity of a quasar is mind-blowing. The first identified quasar 3C 273 has an absolute magnitude four trillion times brighter than our sun. Even crazier, the light we see from quasars, including 3C 273, is billions of years old. Where do these luminous objects come from? Black holes. In order for a black hole to remain a quasar producer, it needs to eat about ten stars a year.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Apparent magnitude refers to how bright a star appears to be from a gaze on Earth. 00:47

  2. Quasars shine more brightly than many galaxies. 05:56

  3. Quasars don't last forever. 08:08

Written by Curiosity Staff January 20, 2015