He thinks it's even possible for a single quasar to trigger the formation of not just one, but many galaxies. Some quasars have jets that sweep around the heavens like a lighthouse beam - this is thought to happen when another supermassive black hole is in the process of merging with the quasar. As the jets sweep around they could awaken one sleeping gas cloud after another, says Elbaz. That would certainly explain why normal galaxies are often seen clustered near quasars (emphasis mine).
Astronomers, most notably Halton Arp at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, and Geoffrey Burbidge of the University of California, San Diego, have claimed that this clustering is evidence that galaxies give birth to quasars, then eject them. "We're suggesting the exact opposite," says Elbaz. "It's quasars that give birth to galaxies."
Of course, if supermassive black holes did form first and then gave birth to galaxies, the $64,000 question is: where did the supermassive black holes come from? "This is the one missing jigsaw piece," admits Elbaz.
The big question: where do all these supermassive black holes come from in the first place?
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