back to article MONSTER QUASAR BLAST blows stunned astro boffins' WIGS OFF

Physics boffins have discovered a dying galaxy whose black hole core has emitted the biggest burst of energy ever to be found by scientists. Researchers at Virginia Tech in the US examined the record-breaking quasar, dubbed SDSS J1106+1939, using a colossal telescope in Paranal, Chile to observe what they described as a " …


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  1. Ragarath

    My quasar is bigger than yours.

    1. FartingHippo

      Yeah, well my quasar kicks your quasars ass in gamma ray output.

      1. LaeMing

        Yeah, its big enough, but do you know how to use it?

  2. Atonnis

    I completely lost track of the story...

    I was reading the story through, suitably scientifically interested...and then I saw the picture.

    Now all I can think is 'GIANT HEADCRAB LEAPS AT EARTH!'.

    Gordon Freeman would not be impressed....

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Ref: El Reg Measurement Standards

    "...equivalent to two trillion times the power output of the sun."

    I wonder how much Mentos and Diet Coke that equates too?

    1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

      Re: Mentos and Diet Coke equivalent

      Eleventy-point-237 bagoolion

  4. Peter Galbavy


    ... enough to wipe out any conceivable life that was in that galaxy. What a way to go...

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: so...

      But it's at z=3, so we're seeing it as it was roughly 10 billion years ago, or 3.5 billion years after the big bang. Given the time necessary for galaxies to form, heavy elements to be generated and then broadcast by supernovae etc, it doesn't seem very likely that life (as we know it, Jim) would have been present.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: so...

        Indeed. Perhaps life has formed and evolved since then to a point at which is actually does now exist there :D

      2. ravenviz

        Re: so...

        Life 'as we know it' existed on Earth 3.5 billion years after it formed.

        1. The First Dave Silver badge

          Re: so...


          But the earth did not, (could not possibly) have formed within 3.5 billion years of the big bang...

  5. jonfr

    Galaxies don't die

    Galaxies don't die. But star do, along with quasars, black holes and so on. But that takes long time in each case. What this one is doing now is a good question.

  6. Silverburn


    Wake me up when it's a GAZILLION!

    Nuke... 'cos it just seems so puny now.

  7. Slartybardfast


    " I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened"

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Obi-Wan

      Yes, a long time ago in a galaxy, far far away.

  8. frank ly

    Big and complicated science made accessible.

    " ... while our Milky Way galaxy has a relatively piddly black hole at its heart, the one found in quasar SDSS J1106+1939 is whopping."

    That's why I read The Register.

  9. That Awful Puppy

    Dearest El Reg

    When it comes to such staggering numbers, would you please be so kind and write them down in powers of 10 to make them easier to imagine?

    Lovely article otherwise.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Dearest El Reg

      Well, to use scientific notation, the ratio of power output to that of our Sun would be around 2.0 × 10^12.

      1. TheRealRoland

        Re: Dearest El Reg

        Now that the Great Debate of using SI or not has finished, maybe to prevent people from mentally slowing down, start using Crore / Lakh? Keeps the discussions lively, i'm sure ;-)

  10. gizmo23

    Head crunching numbers

    So, off the top of my head the sun's power is about 3 x 10^26 W and there are about 10^11 stars in our galaxy...

    and to top it all, it's 100 times more power than that which is 3 x 10^39 W, divide by c^2 (lets say 10^17) equals 3 x 10^22 kg of matter converted to energy per second... And as the Earth's mass is approx 6 x 10^24 kg that's 1/200 the mass of the earth converted from matter to energy every second.. ooh my brain hurts

  11. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Energy output like that...

    You could make toast really really quickly.

    Just sayin'.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Energy output like that...

      Probably within the Planck time. Quantum toast.

    2. Martin Budden Bronze badge

      Re: Energy output like that...

      Basil: Ever seen my wife making toast Polly?

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Energy output like that...

      Don't be daft. To make toast really quickly you'd need two of these so that you could toast both sides at the same time.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Science eh?

    It just keeps on giving and!

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