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Optical outburst of the quasar CTA 102

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#126 Organic Astrochemist

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 07:58 PM

Here is an animation following an outburst of radio brightness in CTA 102 in 1997. It shows a "blob" traveling with an apparent speed of 16 times the speed of light (an optical illusion)! Synchroton radiation and inverse Compton scattering produced by electrons traveling near the speed of light can result in increased brightness across the electromagnetic spectrum. But, alas, the show does come to an end.

CTA 102 movie


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#127 Aquarellia

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 02:11 PM

Our Blazar was 13.5 yesterday but today I just see it, my estimation: 12.9, so up again.  I used à Dobson 12" 152X.

Michel


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#128 andycknight

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 02:57 PM

I was unable to spot it in my 5" yesterday [Mon] and tonight [Tue] (but at least the dip verifies I've been looking at the correct spot! :grin: ).

Unfortunately the moon is getting both closer and brighter. With the haze the sky is too bright, but also too fuzzy to pump up the magnification.

 

I've probably got to wait a good few days, (with the weather and all), before I can pick it up again. :(

(It all depends on how bright and long this next peak is, but hopefully should easily be within range on my 8")

 

Regards

 

Andy.

 

Edit: Despite the Moon nearby - the sky was very clear, so I could actually see it tonight [Wed] using adverted vision in my C5, it's clearly getting brighter. I could not glimpse the mag 12.9 nearby star, so it's defiantly brighter then that.

If I had to guess on the brightness, I would say roughly around mag 12.5 - but its just a guess nothing more!


Edited by andycknight, 04 January 2017 - 01:52 PM.


#129 BrooksObs

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 03:52 PM

Following its deepest plunge in recently weeks to about magnitude 13.4 on January 2.8 UT, this blazar had rebounded to nearly 11.5 just 72 hours later and was still brightening. It will be most interesting to see if the latest unusually deep minimum perhaps heralds an equally bright new peak in the next day, or two. Given its current brightness folks with even quite modest-size scopes should have little difficulty in further monitoring this object's magnitude for the next several days, at least, in spite of the fattening moon.

 

BrooksObs


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#130 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 06:15 PM

After observing Comet 45P yesterday evening, I took another look at CTA 102 through the ASH 17" classical Cassegrain at 162 and 185x.  The moonlight affected the view somewhat but the blazar appeared to be brighter than the magnitude 12.9 field star to the southwest.

 

Dave Mitsky


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#131 stevecoe

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 03:28 AM

Howdy all;

 

Is this three times up and down in magnitude?  I think that is right.

 

What a truly bizarre thing to realize that we are watching material moving into a black hole and changing the brightness of an object 7.7 billion light years away.  And, changing that brightness hundreds of times over a day or two.  Overall, changing the brightness many thousands of times during the original outburst.

 

I am perfectly clear that it is just a dot of light in my telescope, but the realization of what I am seeing is amazing.

 

Truly fascinating;

Steve Coe


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#132 Aquarellia

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:58 AM

Yesterday I saw this object just under 11.7. 

Easy with my 6" refractor, with direct vision at the begining of the night and with the Moonlight.

What about today ? a real suspense,... or up again to reach a new record as this of Dec. 29th, or quickly down as just after the 3 previous maxima ?

Indeed the varibility of this object is much more important and truly fascinating than the "famous" star KIC 8462852!
Michel


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#133 Tom Polakis

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 09:45 AM

Howdy all;

 

Is this three times up and down in magnitude?  I think that is right.

 

What a truly bizarre thing to realize that we are watching material moving into a black hole and changing the brightness of an object 7.7 billion light years away.  And, changing that brightness hundreds of times over a day or two.  Overall, changing the brightness many thousands of times during the original outburst.

 

I am perfectly clear that it is just a dot of light in my telescope, but the realization of what I am seeing is amazing.

 

Truly fascinating;

Steve Coe

Steve,

 

Looks like at least three.  Here's a link to the AAVSO Light Curve Generator site for this object.

 

https://www.aavso.or...n&bband=on&v=on

 

Tom


Edited by Tom Polakis, 06 January 2017 - 09:46 AM.


#134 andycknight

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Posted 06 January 2017 - 04:29 PM

One thing that's been puzzling me today...

 

It's been discussed that a possible reason for the unusually rapid brightness changes, is due to special relativity altering our perceived time of a jet outburst. It also seems logical to me that the reason suggested for the extreme brightness of CTA 102 is because one of the jets is roughly pointing towards Earth.

 

Now considering that CTA 102 is receding away from us at (only!) around 1/3 the speed of light and "IF" the jet is expanding towards us at near the speed of light... Would it be possible to detect a large blue shift in the spectra of an outburst?? (i.e with the typical [~ mag 17] emission having the usual red shift of ~0.3)

 

I understand that the spectra of some Quasars can be all but impossible to identify (i.e. with an almost continuous spectrum)... But has such a blue shift spectra of a jet ever been observed?

 

Anyone know??

 

Regards

 

Andy.



#135 Organic Astrochemist

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 06:31 PM

This article talks about some of these issues.
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1407.7615v1.pdf
The red shift of blazars can be measured from emissions within the host galaxy or estimated from absorptions of intervening material. The apparent speed and blueshift has been measured for some blazer jet material.
It seems that this is all easier with closer, lower redshift blazars. For CTA 102 z =1.037. The pros are monitoring this at all wavelengths. We'll have to wait, but it will be neat to see what they find.


Edited by Organic Astrochemist, 08 January 2017 - 01:29 AM.

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#136 BrooksObs

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 08:13 PM

 

Howdy all;

 

Is this three times up and down in magnitude?  I think that is right.

 

What a truly bizarre thing to realize that we are watching material moving into a black hole and changing the brightness of an object 7.7 billion light years away.  And, changing that brightness hundreds of times over a day or two.  Overall, changing the brightness many thousands of times during the original outburst.

 

I am perfectly clear that it is just a dot of light in my telescope, but the realization of what I am seeing is amazing.

 

Truly fascinating;

Steve Coe

Steve,

 

Looks like at least three.  Here's a link to the AAVSO Light Curve Generator site for this object.

 

https://www.aavso.or...n&bband=on&v=on

 

Tom

 

I'd regard the flash currently in progress as being the 5th peak, the intervening dips not all being of similar depth by any means.

 

BrooksObs



#137 bladekeeper

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 01:20 AM

Despite the horribleness of the Evil Orb this evening, I managed a glimpse of CTA 102 with my 12" dob, I believe.  I worked about an hour on it, and repeated the star hop and observation several times.

 

Afterwards, I compared my notes to charts in SkyTools 3 and the S&T offering.  I'm feeling fairly confident in the observation.  Very cool and rather profound!


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#138 andycknight

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Posted 08 January 2017 - 05:35 AM

Organic Astrochemist, on 07 Jan 2017 - 11:31 PM, said:

This article talks about some of these issues.
https://arxiv.org/pdf/1407.7615v1.pdf
The red shift of blazars can be measured from emissions within the host galaxy or estimated from absorptions of intervening material. The apparent speed and blueshift has been measured for some blazer jet material.
It seems that this is all easier with closer, lower redshift blazars. For CTA 102 z =1.037. The pros are monitoring this at all wavelengths. We'll have to wait, but it will be neat to see what they find.

Thanks for the pdf link. (again :lol: ) Looking back through this topic, it was listed previously, but somehow (despite me even liking the message  :blush:  ) --- I missed the link!

 

A very interesting read, that's answered a number of questions I had.

 

Regards

 

Andy.


Edited by andycknight, 08 January 2017 - 05:37 AM.


#139 nytecam

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 06:15 PM

I make blazar m~13.0 unfiltered tonight Jan 14 @ 1824UT - my pic below :)

 

Nytecam

Attached Thumbnails

  • CTA102b170114x15smg.jpg

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#140 Aquarellia

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 11:10 PM

I make blazar m~13.0 unfiltered tonight Jan 14 @ 1824UT - my pic below :)

 

Nytecam

I agree, yesterday 14.74 UT I estimated visually the magnitude 13.0 with my 12" Dobson with 150x magnification. That was my 57th estimation made during 30 different nights since Dec. 2nd.

It's a long minimum...

Michel


Edited by Aquarellia, 15 January 2017 - 12:46 AM.

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#141 timokarhula

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 03:29 AM

I estimated CTA 102 as magnitude 13.2 yesterday (January 15.75 UT) with my 12" Dob and 62x magnification.  It was only my fifth observation of it since November 30.

 

/Timo Karhula


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#142 Aquarellia

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 03:33 AM

I estimated CTA 102 as magnitude 13.2 yesterday (January 15.75 UT) with my 12" Dob and 62x magnification.  It was only my fifth observation of it since November 30.

 

/Timo Karhula

Ok Timo, 13.1 for me (January 15.77 UT) using 12" Dob 150x

Michel


Edited by Aquarellia, 16 January 2017 - 03:39 AM.

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#143 nytecam

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:45 PM

I make the blazer fainter tonight Jan 17.74UT.@ m13.4 unfiltered :)

Nytecam

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  • cta102q170117x20s.jpg


#144 BrooksObs

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 04:15 PM

It would seem that CTA 102 is undergoing something of a respite from its recent rapid fluctuations, it having been hoovering near magnitude 13.0 in recent days without any sign of a new rise, or fading, in its brightness. Unfortunately, this blazar is now steadily approaching the evening twilight region and will be lost from sight in February with whatever comes next in this bizarre object's story hidden from Earthly eyes for a number of weeks before once again attaining a reasonable elongation sufficient to take it out of morning twilight.

 

BrooksObs 


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#145 Aquarellia

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 11:30 PM

It would seem that CTA 102 is undergoing something of a respite from its recent rapid fluctuations, it having been hoovering near magnitude 13.0 in recent days without any sign of a new rise, or fading, in its brightness. Unfortunately, this blazar is now steadily approaching the evening twilight region and will be lost from sight in February with whatever comes next in this bizarre object's story hidden from Earthly eyes for a number of weeks before once again attaining a reasonable elongation sufficient to take it out of morning twilight.

 

BrooksObs 

Indeed BrooksObs, however we can still follow the activity some weeks from now.  Yesterday the visual magn. was "fainter than" 13.1/13.2 or 13.4 as observed by Nytecam, the night before 12.9 following another 13.1 so I was expecting a new rise but no,... so tonight ... nobody knows?

Michel


Edited by Aquarellia, 17 January 2017 - 11:36 PM.

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#146 BrooksObs

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Posted 22 January 2017 - 11:38 PM

Well, it may well be the the recent show brought to us courtesy of CTA 102 is at an end. After settling back to about magnitude 13.0 following its last brightness flaring this object had thereafter begun to slowly decline in brightness, so far dropping to magnitude 14.5 by January 21.8UT. It also would appear that the rate of its decline is now steadily increasing.

 

BrooksObs



#147 dhawn

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 06:56 PM

This was an exciting and awe-inspiring event, and as a relative new-comer I was genuinely grateful to have been able to see it.


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#148 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 10:55 PM

Well, it was fun while it lasted. ;)

 

Dave Mitsky



#149 andycknight

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 01:55 AM

The fun part is who knows when (or where) the next bright outburst will be...

 

Even if CTA 102 never manages to 'shine again' (in our lifetime), there must be a wealth of useful data it has presented to the Scientific community.

 

I'll never forget those nights I spent looking in wonder at something nearly 8 billion light years away, which occurred before our solar system even formed and yet through scopes as tiny as my C90 Mak.

 

Thank you Cloudy Nights!

 

Regards

 

Andy.


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#150 nytecam

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 12:38 PM

Sorry for delay - chasing quasars in HMQ cat :)

My estimate 48hrs ago ie 2017 Jun 24.751 [pic below] is m14.5 so it's faded a lot but still within range until lost in twilight !

 

Just realised it's recorded near min on Sloan DSS inset below.

 

Nytecam

Attached Thumbnails

  • cta102q170124x30s.jpg

Edited by nytecam, 26 January 2017 - 12:46 PM.

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