No, it is NOT a star! Several orders of magnitudes far from being a star actually. I am talking about quasars (quasi-stellar radio source) - often being described as distant stars. Oh, astronomers pain.
Quasars are absolutely fascinating. Little understood yet being used in our daily lives. Yes, you read me correctly. Since quasars are so far away and only move ever so slightly on the sky, we can use them as fixing points for our reference frame. The reference frame is the coordinate system we define all positions in and is one of the geodetic products. You might have heard about VLBI - Very Long Baseline Interferometry radio antennas in astronomy. They are actually being use for more earthly matters as well. The IVS provides us with observations of a selected group of quasars and combined with GPS and other space-based and in-situ instruments we get the high accuracy positioning products we all enjoy on a daily basis.
I also find this heavenly objects to be quite pretty. Enjoy!
The jet (blueish color) was produced by a quasar named GB 1428+4217, or GB 1428 for short, and is located 12.4 billion light years from Earth. Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/NRC/C.Cheung et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
Learn more about Quasar on BBC or continue reading on NASA
Saturday in Space: Quasars
- Farthest Ever: Record-Setting X-Ray Jet From Quasar GB 1428
- Galaxy 4C+29.30- How A Supermassive Black Hole's Gravity Can Be Tapped To Generate Immense Power
- Spiral Galaxy NGC 4151- The Eye Of Sauron
- W49B: Did An Explosion Create Our Galaxy's Youngest Black Hole?
- Arp 147 And Valentine's Day Black Holes