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Fourth echelon

Scientists discover first quadruple quasar

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif., May 15 (UPI) -- Quasars -- the bursts of glowing gas that surround black holes as they swallow everything around them -- aren't usually found right next to each other. But researchers recently found four in a row, a quasar quartet.

The glow of the four quasars and their brightly enflamed gas, red and orange as it's sucked into the black hole's accretion disc, are bright enough to light a massive expanse of deep space -- an area one million light-years across, dubbed the Jackpot nebula.

Astronomers say the Jackpot nebula -- which is delivering light that's been traveling for 10 billion years -- is one of the most massive and dense structures ever discovered in the distant universe. Its size and structure more closely resemble the regions of galactic amalgamation in the modern universe, like the Milky Way's neighbors.

"There are several hundred times more galaxies in this region than you would expect to see at these distances," principle investigator J. Xavier Prochaska, a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz, explained in a press release.



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