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Optically bright "quasars" in the early universe represent a critical phase of black hole evolution when the black holes acquired most of their mass. The quasars are located within galaxies that are locations of active star formation, and the processes of star formation and black hole evolution are believed to be closely connected. In his Perspective, Fan highlights a report by Carilli et al. that sheds light on star formation in a quasar host galaxy. By exploiting the gravitational-lensing effect, the authors are able to spatially resolve the structure of the molecular gas in the distant quasar. The data enable them to calculate the star-formation rate in the host galaxy.