If this were a Sherlock Holmes story, its title would surely be “The Case of the Disappearing Quasar.”In this case, however, the mystery wasn’t solved by an aging Victorian-era detective, but by a young American astronomer at Penn State University named Jessie Runnoe and her colleagues. They study quasars, some of the brightest objects in the universe.Quasars aren’t stars. “They’re the result of gas and material falling into a supermassive black hole,” Runnoe says. The gas heats up as it falls in, causing the region to glow brightly.The case began early last year.
Feb 25 2016