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NGC 3079 and the Twin Quasar - AT6RC

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#1 Dan Crowson

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:55 PM

NGC 3079 is a barred spiral galaxy approximately 50 million light-years away in Ursa Major. The Hubble has shown this galaxy to have a bubble in the center created by large bursts of star formation.

The more interesting object in this image is the Twin Quasar (also the Double Quasar or Old Faithful). In simple terms, quasars are compact regions at the center of a galaxy that are much brighter than the rest. These are so bright that they show up as pin-point objects like stars and can be billions of light-years away. More information can be found here - Wikipedia.

What makes the Twin Quasar somewhat unique is that it is a single object. It is located approximately 8.7 billion light-years away. There’s a galaxy (YGKOW G1) approximately 3.7 billion light-years away that is positioned between Earth and the quasar. This galaxy bends the light from the quasar so that it shows up as two light sources. This phenomenon is called gravitational lensing. First described by Orest Chwolson, but usually associated with Einstein, observations didn’t prove this until the Twin Quasar was discovered in 1979. The two mag 17 light sources are separated by 6 arcseconds. The light from one of them reaches us approximately 417 days before the other.

Thanks to Haren Boren for posting his image to “suggest” this target. There’s just something neat about imaging an object 8.7 billion light-years away from my driveway in the city.

Luminance – 12x600s – 120 minutes – binned 1x1
RGB – 4x600s – 40 minutes each – binned 2x2

240 minutes total exposure – 4 hours

Imaged January 13th, 2013 with a SBIG ST-8300M on a 6” Astro-Tech AT6RC at f/9 1368mm.

See the full size image links below.

Posted Image

LRGB Full Size

LRGB Annotated Full Size


#2 Footbag


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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

Very nice image! I love these targets and hope we see a lot more of them. This particular quasar probably gets more attention due to its proximity to NGC3079 and the ability to split it without very large equipment. I'm not going to say it's easy, but all of the others seem tougher.

#3 jmasin



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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:17 PM

Cool image Dan... very, very cool. Really enjoy stuff like this. It isn't "pretty", as far as colors and such, but what it is is just flat cool...8.7BLY away... nice.

#4 agmakr


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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:46 AM

Inspiring image, thanks for sharing.

#5 Bill Snyder

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

Interesting image and interesting write up!

#6 mcarroll



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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:17 PM

Great image Dan, and very interesting!

#7 JWalk



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Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:10 AM

Very cool shot!

#8 Harel_Boren


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Posted 20 January 2013 - 02:29 AM

Very nice Dan, and thanks for mentioning my image to :-)
I like it, and indeed 8.7 billion years old light is a treat saved for AP of all hobbies !

#9 broca


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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:20 AM

There’s just something neat about imaging an object 8.7 billion light-years away from my driveway in the city.
Anyone who struggles from time to time at this hobby needs to look at your quote.
Nice image and a very interesting write up to go with it. Well done.

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