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Looking Underneath Quasar HE0450-2958
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Looking 'Underneath' Quasar HE0450-2958

September 27, 2005
This image shows the quasar HE0450-2958 after advanced image processing known as MCS-deconvolution. Thanks to this technique, it is possible to remove the brilliant glare from the quasar itself.

The most interesting feature in the image is the nearly total absence of starlight from a host galaxy. The processing also reveals an interesting smaller cloud of gas about 2,500 light-years wide, which the scientists call "the blob," just next to the quasar. Very Large Telescope (VLT) observations show this cloud to be glowing because it is bathed in the intense radiation coming from the quasar. Most likely, it is the gas from this ‘blob' that feeds the supermassive black hole, thereby allowing it to shine as a quasar.