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Quasar 3C 273

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#1 Solorich

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:36 PM

Curious if anyone has been successful in observing the Quasar 3C 273 located in Virgo. If you have, what equipment did you use and what do you think the minimum equipment capable would be.  Being 2 billion light years away this would be a nice achievement.  Thanks

Rich


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#2 skyward_eyes

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 01:42 PM

From a dark location you can easily see it in a 10" telescope. It is a 12.9 mag. "star" so having a detailed chart or someone who knows the field is good to have. Larger instrument make it even easier. 

 

I like to pull this out of my pocket for those who want to see something different and far.

 

Good luck. 


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#3 astro744

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 03:05 PM

I've seen it a few times in a 6" f5.5 Newtonian.  The trick is to use good finder charts and star hop from one star pattern to another until you get to the long right angle triangle which contains two stars on the hypotenuse, one of which is the quasar.

 

I first found it after an article and good map in Astronomy magazine many years ago.  There is also a good chart in Burnham's Celestial Handbook, Volume 3 as well as Hartung's Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes (under Virgo in both books).

 

I like this object because when someone asks you what is the most distant object you can see with your telescope the answer is generally always 3C 273 and this applies to most amateur sized telescopes as the next quasar is considerably more distant and much fainter.

 

Enjoy the hunt and the view of such a distant object.


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#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 03:34 PM

 

I like this object because when someone asks you what is the most distant object you can see with your telescope the answer is generally always 3C 273 and this applies to most amateur sized telescopes as the next quasar is considerably more distant and much fainter.

In her July 2012 Deep Sky Wonders column, Sue French pointed out that the most distant object visible through many backyard telescopes is the quasar Q1634+706, which at an estimated 8.6 billion light-years is almost four times more distant than 3C 273. I found it fairly easy to spot in my 12.5-inch Dob.

 

But 3C 273 is much brighter than Q1634+706. I would guess it should be visible in a 4-inch scope in pristine skies or in an 8-inch scope under typical suburban skies. Like most quasars, it varies in brightness. A good chart is essential, since 3C 273 looks precisely like a faint star.


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#5 bumm

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:57 PM

I've caught it in my 8 inch SCT from my house in a green-yellow zone.  Since it just looks like a dim star, the main requirements are decent transparency and a good finder chart.

                                                                                                       Marty


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#6 Classic8

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 11:23 AM

Saw it with my 10" SCT but haven't looked for it with my smaller scopes. As the others mentioned, you need a good finder chart.


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#7 Solorich

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:22 PM

Thanks skyward_eyes, astro744, Tony Flanders, bumm, and Classic8. Once the skies cooperate I will give it a shot.  I won't have to tell you if I find it you'll hear the screams.

Rich


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#8 izar187

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:28 PM

Have seen it with 6" and up, with detailed chart.

Under good seeing, field stars in the area around it, that you use to find it, are a bit sharper.



#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 12:55 PM

I've logged 3C 273 with my 101mm Tele Vue apochromat from Cherry Springs State Park.

 

Finder charts are available at http://www.cs.cmu.ed...uasar3c273.html and https://www.lsw.uni-...s/1226 023.html

and http://www.nightskyi...r/3c273_map.gif

 

An outburst from quasar CTA 102 took place late last year that made it historically bright, bright enough to be seen with very small apertures.  Cloudy Nights member Sasa reported seeing CTA 102 through a 63mm Zeiss Telementor several times in December.  I observed it a number of times through the ASH 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain and also saw it through one of the club's 14" f/10 Meade SCTs.

 

https://www.cloudyni...quasar-cta-102/

 

http://www.astronome....org/?read=9868

 

https://www.aavso.or...cial-notice-426

 

I've observed a number of very distant quasars including the Double or Twin Quasar and Einstein's Cross through large apertures.

 

http://www.skyhound....2237 0305A.html  (I was able to see three of its components through a 32" ATM Dob.)

 

http://www.astronomy...pace/dblqso.htm  (I've observed the Double Quasar through a 30" Tectron Dob and somewhat smaller Dobs.)

 

There's information on observing quasars with amateur telescopes at the following URLs:

 

http://www.klima-luf...e/KHQ/khq_e.htm

 

https://www.umich.ed...arnecki.23.html

 

https://www.universe...ard-telescopes/

 

Dave Mitsky


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#10 Soarrunwalk

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 06:13 PM

I've seen it in my 5" reflector.

I had to be in the countryside. I had to use averted vision. I had to sketch and confirm later when at home (but was already quite certain).

But I saw it. ...and was floored by what that faint object was and its distance!!
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#11 Solorich

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 10:18 AM

grin.gifgrin.gif Well I don't remember whether I screamed or not but it was Christmas in May. Spent two nights with sky charts until I knew the area ad nauseam. Using a ES AR 127 at 48x and 92x I found 3c 273. Several of the stars in the field were 14+ mag. and they showed up quite readily. 3C 273, being 12.9, was going to show. The skies were not ideal so going back when they're darker will be a treat.

Thank you all so much for all your advice.  Dave, I saved your resources for use in the future, thank you. Now bring on Q1634+706shocked.gif

Rich


Edited by Solorich, 19 May 2017 - 10:38 AM.

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#12 Keith Rivich

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 02:52 PM

While 3c273 is fairly easy to find, if you have access to a large scope take a stab at the jet extending down to the SW of the quasar. Several of us had a positive sighting using the McDonald Observatory's 82" scope on a night of steady seeing. We tried again using a 36" scope and my 25" scope the following night from the Prude but couldn't quite convince ourselves we could see the jet. I believe on a night of excellent seeing the jet should be observable in my 25". 

 

I believe Gottlieb and others had a positive sighting a few years back on Jimi Lowery's 48".

 

https://www.spacetel...ages/potw1346a/


Edited by Keith Rivich, 19 May 2017 - 02:52 PM.

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#13 BrooksObs

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:03 PM

 

 

I like this object because when someone asks you what is the most distant object you can see with your telescope the answer is generally always 3C 273 and this applies to most amateur sized telescopes as the next quasar is considerably more distant and much fainter.

In her July 2012 Deep Sky Wonders column, Sue French pointed out that the most distant object visible through many backyard telescopes is the quasar Q1634+706, which at an estimated 8.6 billion light-years is almost four times more distant than 3C 273. I found it fairly easy to spot in my 12.5-inch Dob.

 

But 3C 273 is much brighter than Q1634+706. I would guess it should be visible in a 4-inch scope in pristine skies or in an 8-inch scope under typical suburban skies. Like most quasars, it varies in brightness. A good chart is essential, since 3C 273 looks precisely like a faint star.

 

Back in the 1970's and 80's I monitored this object consistently in conjunction with the AAVSO program. It never did much, perhaps varying painfully slowly between 12.6 and 13.0 over irregular cycles that spanned from 6-10 years. At length I found it just plain too boring to continue with and I dropped it from my observing program.


Edited by BrooksObs, 19 May 2017 - 03:04 PM.

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