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Chandra X-ray
Observatory Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
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BALQSO Survey: An acronym for "broad absorption line quasars," a peculiar type of quasar that is shrouded in clouds of gas and dust flowing outward at millions of miles per hour.
(Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

Caption: This illustration demonstrates the different points-of-view from which astronomers may be observing quasars. About 10 percent of quasars appear to absorb a great deal of their own radiation, including low-energy X-rays. Chandra shows that these "shrouded" quasars appear this way because they are oriented so astronomers are looking through an obscuring "donut" of gas and dust. "Normal" quasars may simply be those where an astronomer's view is not blocked by this torus of material.

Chandra X-ray Observatory null Image

CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory