Friday, June 22, 2012


Quasars - Have you heard of them before? These massive objects put off so much energy that current physics models can't explain how it is possible for them to exist.

A quasar is actually the result of accretion of matter around a supermassive black hole. Most black holes are virtually invisible, this is because light cannot escape if it gets too close to the black hole. A quasar has a mass of material that remains above the event horizon (the point of no return). This material is subjected to unimaginable forces from the black hole. Essentially, the matter is torn apart. A black hole literally rips matter into pieces.

Quasar by: Snedex, deviantart

The most luminous quasars radiate at a rate that can exceed the output of average galaxies, equivalent to two trillion suns. That is (2×1012) times brighter than our own sun! These objects are so massively bright they outshine stars billions of light-years closer. It is completely impossible to even grasp how bright these objects are.

To help you try and grasp the magnitude of these objects, here is a list:
(A Joule is a standard unit for measuring energy, a single joule isn't a whole lot)

An apple dropped 2 feet 1 Joule
A 10 Watt flashlight left on for 1 minute 600 Joules
Energy from firing an Elephant rifle 7,000 Joules ~ 7 Kilojoules
Accelerating a 4 ton (8000lb)
car to highway speed (55mph)
1,200,000 Joules ~ 1.2 Megajoules
Energy in average lightning bolt 1,000,000,000 ~ 1 Gigajoule
Energy released by an average hurricane (per second) 600,000,000,000,000 ~ 600 Terajoules
Energy released from the Tsar Bomba
(the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated)
210,000,000,000,000,000 Joules
210 Petajoules
Energy from the sun that the earth receives every year 5,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules
25 million Tsar Bombas or 5.5 yottajoules
Total energy released by the sun every second 380,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules
70 times the amount energy we receive from the sun annually

Now, the amount of energy released by a Quasar is: 750,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules
Every. Single. Second. Because such large numbers are hard to comprehend, let me break that down further. The amount of energy released is equivalent to 2 quadrillion of our suns. Our milky way galaxy has an estimated 200 - 400 Billion stars, however, our sun is significantly brighter than the average star. Our milky way galaxy has an estimated output of around 5*10^36 Joules.

The energy output of a quasar is roughly equivalent to the energy output of 150 thousand galaxies.

Think about that.


Freakin' Awesome.

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