Astronomers get glimpse at the very beginning of time
Scientists have peered at the very beginning of the universe, sampling light that was emitted at the dawn of time.
The observations allowed scientists to pick up part of an extremely distant quasar, sending out a beam of light that is almost as old as the universe itself.
Nasa's most stunning pictures of space Show all 30 Created with Sketch.
Nasa's most stunning pictures of space As the cosmos reached its billionth birthday, some of the very first light started making its long journey through the universe.
Black hole spotted by Nasa provides new insight into mysterious bodies "If it weren't for this makeshift cosmic telescope, the quasar's light would appear about 50 times dimmer," said Xiaohui Fan of the University of Arizona, who led the study. "This discovery demonstrates that strongly gravitationally lensed quasars do exist despite the fact that we've been looking for over 20 years and not found any others this far back in time."
The light came soon after what is known as the Epoch of Reonisation – when the very first light came about. "This is one of the first sources to shine as the Universe emerged from the cosmic dark ages," said Jinyi Yang of the University of Arizona, another member of the discovery team. "Prior to this, no stars, quasars, or galaxies had been formed, until objects like this appeared like candles in the dark."
Quasars are very intense sources of energy that are fuelled by black holes, and are thought to have been around in the very first galaxies in the universe.
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