Cocktail Astronomy | Quasar Quartet

Image credit: Hennawi & Arrigoni-Battaia, MPIA via Astronomy Now

Here at Future-ish, we love astronomy and we love cocktails. So to prep our fans (and ourselves) for those stellar weekend cocktail conversations, we are pleased to offer our Cocktail Astronomy post each Friday.

Some of our readers may be off to the symphony tonight or this weekend to listen to their favorite classical pieces. Among them there will certainly be some exceptional quartets. For this week's Cocktail Astronomy we are sharing a story from Astronomy Now about a cosmic quartet of four quasars recently discovered by a a group of astronomers led by Joseph Hennawi of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy using the W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Quasars are produced by matter falling into black holes. The existence of this quartet is sending scientists back to the drawing board regarding the formation and evolution of quasars because generally quasars are so rare and so far apart. Not these four fine fellows. Scientists are also now referring to the nebula surrounding the quasars the "Jackpot Nebula" given the rarity of the nebula itself and that of the quasars within it. Rare event on top of rare event...perhaps a stop at the local casino after the symphony is in order.

>> More information about the discovery is available in the May 15, 2015 issue of Science.