What Feeds The Monster?


Quasars or QSOs were first discovered in 1963. Initially they appeared as mysterious objects. They were stellar like (hence the name Quasi- Stellar-Object) objects which had a strange emission line spectrum. An example is shown below:

The basic problem was that the emission lines were at wavelengths which were unfamiliar to astronomers. Either these were new atomic processes at work, or something very odd was going on.

After a few of these objects were discovered it was soon realized that the emission lines were from normal atomic processes (i.e. electronic transisitions in Hydrogen and Oxygen) but that the redshift of the "Quasi-stellar" objects was enormous.

Implications of the large redshifts:

Further observations of QSOs showed the following set of characteristics as well:

We now have a fairly major problem: --> What physical process can output so much energy in such a small volume?

Possible Energy Sources: