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Quasar in Search of a Home

This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a quasar that is unusual in that it does not have a massive host galaxy. Designated HE0450-2958, the quasar is  about 5 billion light-years distant. The lack of a prominent host galaxy around this very bright quasar suggests a rare case of a collision between a seemingly normal spiral galaxy and an exotic object harboring a very massive black hole. 

The red arc above the quasar is a strongly disturbed galaxy, showing all the signs of a recent collision.

The bright spot just above the quasar is believed to be a smaller cloud of gas about 2,500 light-years wide, called "the blob," which glows because because of the intense radiation coming from the quasar. Most likely, it is the gas from this "blob" that feeds the supermassive black hole, thereby allowing it to shine as a quasar.

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