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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Tips for observing 3C 273? new
      #5875562 - 05/21/13 11:11 AM

I'd like to find quasar 3C 273 on my next observing session (just so I can tell people I've seen something 2.4 billion light years away ). My understanding is that it will simply look like a faint, 12th magnitude star.

For those that have seen it, I'm wondering if it's possible to do so with a 10" dob in an orange zone? Also, does the stellar database in Sky Safari+ (down to 12th magnitude) display enough stars to positively identify the quasar if/when I see it?


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Doc Willie
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: tezster]
      #5875630 - 05/21/13 11:39 AM

Well, can you see 12th mag stars with your equipment and conditions? If you can, I think you can find it. There are also finder charts on the web that may be useful. Google is your friend.

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Doc Willie
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5875706 - 05/21/13 12:09 PM

And you get to tell people you saw something 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away.

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JasonBurry
sage


Reged: 04/27/12

Loc: Cape Spencer, NB, Canada
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #5875770 - 05/21/13 12:35 PM

Some good finder charts here:

http://washedoutastronomy.com/content/3c-273-quasars-are-easy

I've found and observed 3C 273 several times in the last couple of springs, with my 8" dob, from green skies. It can be a challenging star-hop, but it's not terribly difficult. First time took me about 1/2 hour to identify it with certainty, and now I can find it in under 10 minutes, most times.

It is, indeed, but a faint point of light in my instrument, but an awe inspiring one.

Clear, dark skies, a bit of time, an instrument larger than perhaps 6" and a good finder chart should get you there.

J


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Greatshot
sage


Reged: 04/15/10

Loc: Norton, MA
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: JasonBurry]
      #5879359 - 05/23/13 12:00 AM

I hunted down 3C273 in my 8" in my red zone backyard a while back, so you should be able to do it. Took me some time to narrow down exactly where to look - in fact, I used the very charts JasonBurry linked to - finding exactly the right faint star among many faint stars (and figuring out which ones I could actually see to navigate the charts ) took some time, but the quasar itself was surprisingly visible (a direct view object, actually). Definitely just looked like a star (which, I assume is why it's so easy to see compared to "fuzzy" DSOs), but the awe factor of WHAT and how very far away it is more than made up for the little pip of light view.

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David Knisely
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: tezster]
      #5879408 - 05/23/13 12:34 AM Attachment (25 downloads)

Here is a wide-field image of the area:

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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? [Re: David Knisely]
      #5880116 - 05/23/13 12:15 PM

Thanks for all the tips

Going to give it a try in my next observing session around the new Moon.


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azure1961p
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: tezster]
      #5883349 - 05/25/13 12:24 AM

Quote:

I'd like to find quasar 3C 273 on my next observing session (just so I can tell people I've seen something 2.4 billion light years away ). My understanding is that it will simply look like a faint, 12th magnitude star.

For those that have seen it, I'm wondering if it's possible to do so with a 10" dob in an orange zone? Also, does the stellar database in Sky Safari+ (down to 12th magnitude) display enough stars to positively identify the quasar if/when I see it?




You can absolutely see 12th magnitude stars, quasars in the orange zone with a 10" aperture and quite easily. It is not a stretch at all. Indeed from a ylow zone I can glimpse magnitude 12 globular cluster stars with my 70mm refractor.

You have a very capable instrument for this.

Pete


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Fuzzyguy
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/21/11

Loc: Colorado/Kansas
Re: Tips for observing 3C 273? new [Re: tezster]
      #5895770 - 06/01/13 10:29 AM

I logged this one last night in my 8" SCT from a green zone after reading this thread. It was dim, but easily seen and although I could see it with direct vision, it really popped out with averted vision. I used SkySafari+ on my phone to find it starting at Eta Virginis, an easy double in my finder. Then on to SAO 119445, another easily identifiable double star just a degree or so south east of the quasar. From there I switched to my 40mm plossl and went north about 1 FoV to a triangle of 10th mag stars and 3c 273 was just south west of it in the same FoV. Even though SkySafari+ didn't show all the stars I could see in the scope, it showed enough for me to easily hop to and positively identify 3C 273. The stars visible in my scope pretty much matched Chart D of the charts Jason linked to.

Last night while I was looking, the seeing wasn't great and transparency was fair, but no problem seeing the quasar. My best view was in the ES6816 at about 127X. Pretty amazing to think that the photons I saw from this quasar started their journey 2.4 Billion years ago!

Based on my experience last night, I think you should definitely be able to see the quasar in a 10" scope from your location. If you get a chance to look from a darker place, it will be a piece of cake! Thanks for starting this thread! I enjoyed finding and viewing it.


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