Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Hanny's Voorwerp is the green splotch in this false-color image.


Dutch voorwerp (object), after Hanny's Voorwerp, discovered in 2007 by Dutch schoolteacher Hanny van Arkel.



voorwerp (plural voorwerps)

  1. (astronomy) An ionization or light echo, especially the quasar ionization echo known as Hanny's Voorwerp.
    • 2014 December 9, Chad Orzel, Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist, Basic Books, →ISBN:
      The voorwerp turns out to be a cloud of gas tens of thousands of light-years across, which has somehow been heated to high enough temperatures to emit visible light. The exact mechanism of the heating is still under debate, but probably []
    • 2018 February 15, Matt Brown, Everything You Know About Space is Wrong, Batsford, →ISBN:
      Other voorwerps have since been spotted, but Hanny holds the distinction of finding the first, with nothing more exotic than a public website and the power of the human brain.
    • 2020 April 7, Michael Nielsen, Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science, Princeton University Press, →ISBN, pages 132, 140:
      But regardless of which explanation is correct, or even if some other explanation is needed, the voorwerp is fascinating. Suppose, for instance, that it really is a quasar mirror. As we've seen, this means that the voorwerp is a huge collection of mirrors, echoing the light of the quasar at many different times over the quasar's lifetime. That means light from the voorwerp is a bit like a biography of the quasar,  []
      There's even a voorwerp project, and the Zooites have successfully hunted down several more voorwerps. In all, Galaxy Zoo has been used to write 22 scientific papers, on a wide variety of topics, and many more papers are on the way.

Alternative forms[edit]



From voor (before) +‎ werpen (to throw), a calque of Latin obiectum.


  • IPA(key): /ˈvoːrˌʋɛrp/
  • (file)


voorwerp n (plural voorwerpen, diminutive voorwerpje n)

  1. a physical object
  2. (grammar) the object (of a sentence)

Derived terms[edit]