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Quasar Water Reservoir

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Image courtesy NASA.

A super massive quasar holds the largest reservoir of water discovered in the universe. Researchers working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) recently made this discovery.

Quasar APM 08279+5255, shown in the artist’s concept image, is a giant gas and dust torus surrounding a super large black hole. The black hole is pumping out X-rays from the center, and infrared radiation is heating the dust. The black hole is an overwhelming 20 billion times more massive than our sun and produces a thousand trillion times more energy. The black hole could get up to 6 times bigger if it consumes all the surrounding gas, dust, and water vapor.

The quasar is 30 billion trillion miles away (12 billion light years) and contains 140 trillion times the quantity of water in the world's oceans. Its mass is 34 billion times Earth’s mass or 100,000 times more massive than the sun. The temperature is a slightly chilly -53ºC (-63ºF). The quasar was observed using the Z-Spec at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory (CSO), a 10m (32.8ft) telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and with the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-Wave Astronomy (CARMA), a radio dish array located in the Inyo Mountains of Southern California, USA.

With an increase in confirmed information regarding significant quantities of water throughout the solar system, it is exceedingly likely that life exists in other locations and it is only a question of time before it is observed.

Via Space News


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