EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EUROPEAN SOUTHERN OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Quasar 3C 279. Animation of a view of quasar 3C 279. Quasars are the very bright centres of distant galaxies that are powered by supermassive black holes. This energy powers the jets seen emerging from the central area, with material flowing inwards in an accretion disc. This quasar is of a type known as an optically violent variable (OVV). It contains a black hole with a mass about one billion times that of the Sun. It is over 5 billion light years away in the constellation of Virgo.
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