Quasarphot-20a-01-preview.jpg (297378 bytes)


Caption : PR Photo 20a/01 shows an image of the Quasar HE 1013-2136 (center) and its surroundings, as obtained with the FORS2 multi-mode instrument at the 8.2-m VLT KUEYEN telescope in February 2001. A spectacular arc-like tidal tail stretches from the quasar towards south-east (lower-left) over a distance of more than 150,000 light-years. Another, shorter tidal tail towards the east-northeast is barely visible. PR Photo 20b/01 shows the same field, but sharpened with a computer algorithm to bring out more details in the immediate neighbourhood of the quasar. Now numerous details can be recognized within the two tidal tails, including various knotty structures. In particular, a very close companion galaxy at 20,000 light-years projected distance to the quasar can now be seen (at the 5 o'clock position) that may be in gravitational interaction with the quasar host galaxy. Quasar activity is believed to be triggered by such dramatic events.