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Cosmic Challenge: Einstein's Cross

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#1 PhilH

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 08:58 PM

From an aesthetic perspective, the most perfect gravitational lens is Einstein's Cross, formed by the galaxy PGC 69457 (cross- cataloged as CGCG 378-15) and the quasar QSO 2237+0305 in Pegasus. PGC 69457 is also known informally as Huchra's Lens after its discoverer, John Huchra, professor of cosmology Harvard University. Current estimates place this small, otherwise unspectacular spiral galaxy at 400 million light years away. The quasar lurks far behind at an incredible distance of 8 billion light-years. Were it not for gravitational lensing, the quasar would remain hidden by the galaxy, as the two are nearly in-line as seen from Earth. But as it is, Huchra's lens fractures the ancient light from the quasar into four separate paths that slide around the galaxy just as water flows around a rock in a stream. The end result is not one, but four ghostly images of QSO 2237+0305 surrounding the nucleus of PGC 69457 in a practically perfect diamond pattern.

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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 10:05 PM

Thanks! Oh boy, THIS one's gona be tough! But, I have the 16-inch Binos with Night Vision both sides and just recently got my 36-incher... but still tuning up the optics... I obviously will have to give this a try. To literally see it as more than a singular dot or smudge... That would be awesome and certainly difficult!  I guess my starting goal is just to detect it at all!  Tom


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#3 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 01 October 2018 - 11:35 PM

I've observed three of the four components of Einstein's Cross through John Vogt's superb homemade 32" Dob at over 800x under the dark skies of Cherry Springs State Park.  The conditions were excellent.  A few of the other observers who were present were able to see all four of them.  The D component is exceedingly faint.

http://www.astronomy...ace/crossch.htm

http://observing.sky...2237 0305A.html


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#4 Larry Carlino

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Posted 05 October 2018 - 09:29 AM

I observed Huchra's Cross during the fall of 2001 with my 28-inch Dob  coupled with a Collins I3 image intensifier.  My location is fairly dark, but this target was very difficult to spot.  The foreground galaxy was surrounded by a faint haze the circled about three-quarters of its shape, the individual points of the quasar not being fully resolved.  I now believe that the magnification used was too low for complete resolution.  The faintest component of the quasar (or its location) was not visible.  I may try for this again on a really transparent and dark night,  but my location has been degraded over the past 17 years with the construction of numerous new homes in the area.

Larry


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#5 Keith Rivich

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Posted 08 October 2018 - 10:13 PM

The best I have done with my 25" is A,B and C with D only suspected. Seeing and transparency were excellent. Magnification was 705x (4.5mm Ethos). 

 

The only time I was sure of all four was in the 82" at the McDonald Observatory a few years ago under excellent conditions.


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#6 nateman_doo

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 03:49 PM

Is this something one can image with a 6" scope, moon and sky flow filter and 3-5 minute subs? Or does one have to have a mega aperatire scope to image it?

#7 John O'Hara

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 05:18 PM

Phil,

 

Though off topic, I just read an article in Amateur Astronomy on Stellafane 2018.  Congratulations on winning this year's Houston Award!  To me, this seems so appropriate. 

 

John


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#8 PhilH

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:13 AM

Phil,

 

Though off topic, I just read an article in Amateur Astronomy on Stellafane 2018.  Congratulations on winning this year's Houston Award!  To me, this seems so appropriate. 

 

John

Thanks, John!  Yes, I was blown away by the moment.  For you \youngsters who might be reading this, Walter Scott Houston, for whom the award is named, was the amateur astronomers’ amateur astronomer in the mid to late 20th century. For decades his name was synonymous with the hobby through his writing and with Stellafane for his very presence. As I was growing up through high school and college, he as a larger than life personality. I had the honor of meeting and speaking him after my first book was published in 1990. I was in awe. He was very gracious to me indeed.

 

To receive an award that bears his name is quite overwhelming for me. I continue to be both humbled and deeply honored.


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#9 John O'Hara

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 01:23 PM

For those who read Scotty's Deep-Sky Wonders column, you probably remember that Phil and other deep-sky giants were mentioned by him.  These include the likes of Steve Coe and Ronald J. Morales and others.  In many ways Scotty's articles were a "who's who" of our great pursuit.  

 

Phil certainly deserves this honor.  His authorship of several books and articles on amateur astronomy is a labor of love.  He won't get rich doing it, but we sure have gained riches through them.


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#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 09:17 PM

Here are a couple of photos of Phil accepting the award.

 

Dave Mitsky

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0606-001.JPG
  • IMG_0611-001.JPG

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#11 PhilH

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Posted Yesterday, 03:33 AM

Thanks, John and Dave.  Receiving that award was one of the highlights of my half century in this hobby!  (*Half century*?!  I'm old...undecided.gif)



#12 Bill_H

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Posted Today, 11:52 AM

Very interesting, Phil!  Though my optics are not up to this challenge, I simply loved learning about the "light bending", etc. Amazing Universe!

 

Tks! Bill H.




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