A Dense Plasma Globule in the Solar Neighborhood

Journal: The Astrophysical Journal Letters

Published: 2017-10-20

DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8f92

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 3

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Research Highlight

Shedding light on celestial plasma clouds

© MARK GARLICK /Getty

© MARK GARLICK /Getty

Scientists have observed how light from a quasar is scattered by a dense cloud of plasma, providing new insights into the cloud’s physical properties.

Some of the brightest objects in the universe, quasars emit light from a disc of gas and stars that surround supermassive black holes more than a billion times the size of our sun. As matter is ejected from the centre of the quasar and falls towards the black hole, it interacts with surrounding gases, producing radio waves that can be detected on Earth.

An international team of scientists, including researches from Curtin University, have for the first time observed how a cloud of plasma close to our solar system scatters the radio waves emitted from this quasar located outside our galaxy.

By studying the scattered light, scientists have gained deeper insights into the shape and properties of the plasma cloud.

Supported content

  1. The Astrophysical Journal Letters 849, L3 (2017). doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa8f92
Institutions FC
Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Caltech, United States of America (USA) 0.33
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), Australia 0.33
ASTRON Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy, NWO, Netherlands 0.17
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, RUG, Netherlands 0.17

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