A mysterious and remote quasar called SDSS J1011+5442 appears to have disappeared and scientists are excited since they could register the previous measures of the celestial object that was located close to a huge black hole, and its later disappearance.

The findings, published on Friday at the American Astronomical  Society meeting in Florida, concluded that a relevant decrease of the spectrum of the quasar occurred between 2003 and 2015, as researchers were able to analyze with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).

According to EurekaAlert! this is an artist’s conception of the “changing-look quasar” as it appeared in early 2015. The glowing blue region shows the last of the gas being swallowed by the central black hole as it shuts off. The spectrum is the previous one obtained by the SDSS in 2003. Credit: Dana Berry / SkyWorks Digital, Inc.

Quasars are recognized by many scientists, as the furthest objects that can be found in the universe. It is estimated that they have huge amounts of energy, so much that they can be a trillion times brighter than the sun and can emit more energy than 100 normal galaxies combined, according to The Starchild, a service of the High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center.

That being said, quasars, which are bigger than our solar system, cannot be seen without special equipment, because they are so far that its energy takes billions of years to reach the atmosphere of our planet. Astronomers have declared that quasars should be studied in order to understand the early formation of the universe.

“This is the first time we’ve seen a quasar shut off this dramatically, this quickly,” said lead author Jessie Runnoe, a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University. “Essentially, it has run out of food, at least for the moment,” she added. “We were fortunate to catch it before and after.”

Results from the analysis would appear to show that the luminosity of the gas, which was feeding the quasar, was reduced considerably. Scientists stressed it was important that the bright mass was previously identified because right now it can be recognized as a common galaxy without a huge black hole and not as a quasar.

According to a press release published on Eurekalert! researchers could find the quasar, since they studied thousands of quasars that were recognized before and the technology provided by the SDSS allowed them to get deeper in their analysis.

The Sloan Digital Survey, which is located at the Apache Observatory in New Mexico, is a high-tech survey that operates with a dedicated optical telescope. The scientific community has started to call the quasar a “changing-look quasar.”

On Friday, it was announced in the same meeting, that a complex 3D age map of the Milky Way was designed using the SDSS, and it features how the galaxy grew from the inside out. So it seems the survey will be capable of providing amazing data for researchers and astronomers. 

Source: EurekaAlert!