Massive green clouds of gas many light-years away have been photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in an amazing new array of images.
Astronomers have counties eight strange objects that suggests the presence of quasars, which are the brightest things in the universe and apparently give the eerie green objects their glow, according to a Space.com report.
A quasar beam is almost certainly responsible for the glowing clouds, which would otherwise be invisible in deep space and, through a process known as photoionization, can now be viewed, according to the European Space Agency in a statement.
The statement added that elements such as neon, oxygen, helium, sulphur, and nitrogen all absorb light from the quasar, and the green glow comes from ionized oxygen.
Quasars are blasted out of supermassive black holes. They occur when gas and dust fall into the black hole and its accretion disk, which causes the material to heat up to extraordinary temperatures, resulting in a quasar that sends high-energy radiation and particles deep into space in an incredibly bright display, outshining everything else in the universe with its tremendous luminosity.
The quasars that Hubble photographs are long gone: the clouds we see are far from the galaxies that are lighting them up, and it took thousands of years for the quasar beams to reach them. The clouds were probably formed when galaxies combined, and that merger probably created the quasar as well.
A Dutch schoolteacher first spotted a glowing green space cloud back in 2007, who had been participating in an online Galaxy Zoo project that had asked the public to help them classify 1 million galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Astronomers identified 20 different galaxies that had quasar-illuminated clouds with the help of volunteers who went through reams of imagery and data.