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Gigantic, early black hole could upend evolutionary theory

10 July 2015 Astronomy Now

Astronomers have spotted a super-sized black hole in the early universe that grew much faster than its host galaxy. The discovery challenges previous notions about the way host galaxies grow in relation to black holes and casts doubt on earlier suggestions that the radiation emitted by expanding black holes curtails the creation of stars.

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Quasars result from violent galactic mergers

20 June 2015 Astronomy Now

Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s infrared vision, astronomers have unveiled some of the previously hidden origins of quasars, the brightest objects in the universe. A new study finds that quasars are born when galaxies crash into each other and fuel supermassive, central black holes.

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‘Fluffiest galaxies’ discovered by Keck Observatory

16 May 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of researchers have used the W. M. Keck Observatory to confirm the existence of the most diffuse class of galaxies known in the universe. These Ultra Diffuse Galaxies (UDGs) are nearly as wide as our own Milky Way galaxy — about 60,000 light-years — yet harbour only one percent as many stars.

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Astronomers set a new galaxy distance record

5 May 2015 Astronomy Now

An international team of astronomers has pushed back the cosmic frontier of galaxy exploration to a time when the universe was only 5 percent of its present age with the discovery of an exceptionally luminous galaxy more than 13 billion light-years from Earth. The galaxy existed so long ago, it appears to be only 100 million years old.