A team of astronomers has found a dozen quasars that have been broken into four identical photographs by a spontaneously occurring celestial “lens.”
Quasars are supermassive black holes that fuel the incredibly bright centres of distant galaxies.
This rare find brings the total number of observed quasars or quads up to around a quarter of a million, and it may help scientists figure out the universe’s growth rate and other mysteries.
ESAGaia, special instruments for learning discovered quadruply-imaged quasars, more about dark matter and the growth rate of the Universe.
Quasars with quadruple images are uncommon; the first quadruple image was discovered in 1985.
The study is published in ”The Astrophysical Journal”, the DST said.
Astronomers have discovered some fifty of these “quadruply imaged quasars,” or quads, over the past four decades, which arise when the gravity of a large galaxy that sits in front of a quasar breaks its single image into four, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The analysis by the Gaia Gravitational Lenses Working Group (GraL) of astronomers, which included scientists from the DST’s Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, demonstrates the ability of machine learning to aid astronomers in their quest for these celestial gems.
“The quads are gold mines for all sorts of questions. They can help determine the expansion rate of the universe and help address other mysteries, such as dark matter and quasar ”central engines”,” said Daniel Stern, author of the new study and a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory USA.