Image Credit: NASA/ESA, Jeffrey Kenney (Yale University), Elizabeth Yale (Yale University)

 

Quasars - our namesake - are the most luminous objects in the universe. Sometimes, they can generate more than 1000 times the energy of all of the stars in our galaxy combined. All of this energy is emitted from a region no larger than the size of our solar system. They also have properties that might prove useful in interstellar navigation. At least, that's what astronomers are hoping for. Through our tentative observations with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, more than 200,000 quasars have been identified. Many meet the requirements for usage in the delta-DOR tracking system.

 

The idea is this; in the distant future - when Earthlings have developed technology for interstellar exploration - people in the spacecraft can relay their position in relation to these quasars, allowing ground-based operators to determine their position. Thereby allowing the to give perceive directions to the targeted area(something that is difficult once you journey beyond our local neighborhood)

 

This beautiful image reveals a central black hole with quasar-like properties (it may have an active galactic nuclei, but that's debatable). The black hole is situated in the nearby galaxy called NGC 4438. Here, we can see the monstrous black hole emitting huge bubbles of superheated gas. One of the bubbles has propagated through one of the dusty spiral arms of the galaxy - with a wide field view showing the intricacies of the galaxy's unusual shape. It can be found in the Virgo Cluster, some 50 million light-years from Earth.

 


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