Gone with the wind: new study finds quasars that change quickly

A new SDSS press release is up! This time, we’re featuring work led by Nurten Filiz Ak of Penn State, studying disappearing broad absorption line troughs in quasars. They have found several quasars in which the BAL trough disappears over a nine-year period. The simplest explanation for this observation is that as the quasar’s accretion disk has rotated, carrying the absorption region out of the line of sight between us and the quasar. In other words, as the press release says, the gas cloud is…

Gone, with the Wind

A glowing red-orange disk surrounding a small black dot, with thick blue lines radiating out from the center. An inset on 	the top left shows two SDSS spectra, which appear as wavy red and blue lines.

An artist’s impression of a quasar, along with its spectra from SDSS observations

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