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Distant Galaxies and Clusters

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#1 Luca Brasi

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 11:39 AM

What are some of the most distant galaxies and galaxy clusters that you have observed?

Ever since observing the Perseus Cluster of Galaxies I've been hooked on pushing my scope to the limit. Though I'm most interested in sketching galaxy clusters, I'm also interested in distant quasars and individual galaxies as well.

I look forward to your answers!
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#2 Augustus

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 11:54 AM

For me:

  • Abell 2151, the Hercules cluster - most distant galaxy I saw was ~500-600 million light-years away
  • NGC 3179 - 400 million light-years away, most distant galaxy I've seen that isn't part of a cluster
  • Stephan's Quintet - Furthest galaxy is 350 million light-years away
  • Abell 779, cluster in Lynx - most distant galaxy I saw was ~350 million light-years away
  • Abell 426, Perseus Cluster - most distant galaxy I saw was ~300 million light-years away

There are probably PGCs that are more distant that I've seen, but I wouldn't know.


Edited by Augustus, 01 February 2019 - 11:55 AM.

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#3 sgottlieb

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 09:04 PM

Coincidentally, I just finished writing an article that will be in the May issue of Sky & Telescope on observing galaxies and quasars from 1 billion to 12 billion light years.


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#4 havasman

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 09:33 PM

CTA102, quasar - 8 Bn LY

Q0957+561 Twin Lensed Quasar - 8.7 Bn LY

Mrk 421, BL Lacerta Object - @ 400 Mn LY

3C 371, BL Lacerta Object - @ 730 Mn LY

3C 273, quasar - @ 2.4 Bn LY

 

I haven't really kept track of galactic distances but those I know i have seen.


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#5 Redbetter

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 01:20 AM

Andromeda's parachute with Z= 2.377.  11 billion light years.

 

I haven't kept track of distances of the dimmest galaxies and clusters of galaxies I have seen. 



#6 Feidb

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Posted 02 February 2019 - 09:24 PM

Wouldn't have a clue. That's astronomy and science, and I'm allergic to math. I've seen LOTS of galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. I more or less collect them. The why's, how's and what's of their existence I'll leave to those more scientifically minded. I only have a passing and casual interest, if someone else happens to mention something. Tutherwise, I don't put any effort into looking it up on my own. I have way too many other things to do. I just appreciate the beauty of it all and the ability of my scope to see so much of it...and my eye and observing skills as well.


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#7 quazy4quasars

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Posted 03 February 2019 - 12:32 AM

You're using a 14"? How are your skies? Where do you Live?  Look into these; some will challenge you.

Coma GC

IC1101  Gigantic elliptcal at a billion ly  - Largest known galaxy

Hercules GC

QSO PG1634+706

Andromeda's Parachute - Newest, bestest Lensed QSO ever.

Corona GC

QSO LB19   


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#8 Deepskyfreak

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 03:21 AM

Abell 838 in Hydra (~1 BLy} has so far been my most distant galaxy cluster observed.

Serveral cluster galaxies appeared as almost stellar dots at 343x, under perfect seeing and dark skies. 

Those dots popped in only when using averted vision. 

Brightest members at ~15 magv

15" f4,5 Obsession.

Observed on Doi Inthanon, northern Thailand, 8000 ft high location with no light pollution. 


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#9 Luca Brasi

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 01:13 PM

Great stuff, thanks for the info. Looks like I've got some objects over 1 billion light years away to obseve. A couple of quasars and a galaxy clusters.

I've been able to spot small galaxies at 15 mag before, so hopefully I'll be able to see most of these.

Thanks again!

#10 Starman1

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 05:22 PM

What are some of the most distant galaxies and galaxy clusters that you have observed?

Ever since observing the Perseus Cluster of Galaxies I've been hooked on pushing my scope to the limit. Though I'm most interested in sketching galaxy clusters, I'm also interested in distant quasars and individual galaxies as well.

I look forward to your answers!

That'll depend on your sky.  The Perseus Cluster Abell 426 should have quite a few members visible in your 14".

I've seen one of the galaxies in Abell 2065 in Corona Borealis (1.05 billion light years) in my 12.5".

It was pointed out to me by Steve Gottlieb that there are a couple more there I might see.

Also that there are a couple more galaxy clusters I might see a similar magnitude member in at 1.5 and 1.8 billion light years.

I intend to seek them out this year.


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#11 Astro-Master

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 03:47 AM

Speaking about IC 1101, this galaxy is a monster!  It is the largest galaxy in the known universe.  Some estimates put it at 6 million light years in diameter, with a mass of 100 trillion suns.  

If it was in the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, it would extend past the Andromeda Galaxy all the way to M33 in Triangulum, and most of the area in between.

It is a super giant elliptical galaxy at the center of the Galaxy Cluster Abell 2029, at a distance of 1 Billion Light Years. 

 

Two years ago I tracked it down in Virgo with my 18" Dob.  I was at 4,500 ft in the Mountains east of San Diego.  The seeing was 3/5 trans. 4/5, SQM was 21.4.  It was visible at 148x with my ES 14mm 100* eyepiece.   It looked bigger than I thought it would, about 1.0" x 0.4'.  At higher power a few of the cluster members popped into view.  I used an 11" aperture stop on the 18" and it was faintly visible.   This is probably the easiest One Billion Light Year Galaxy to see.

ON a really good dark night, it should be visible in a 10" or maybe even an 8" telescope.

Give it a go, and let us know.


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#12 timokarhula

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 08:57 AM

Last April I saw the brightest galaxy, the 15th magnitude MCG+10-19-68, in Abell 1738 in Ursa Major with my 12-inch SkyWatcher Dob.  Distance 1.55 Gly (redshift z=0.1154).  An even more distant Seyfert type I galaxy is the 15 mag (variable) PGC 61965 in Draco.  The light travel time is 1.63 billion years (z=0.123).  Even when it is non-stellar, size 0’.28x0’.20, it is mostly classified as a quasar.  With 214x I saw it distinct and stellar.

 

/Timo Karhula


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#13 havasman

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 01:38 PM

Speaking about IC 1101, this galaxy is a monster!     This is probably the easiest One Billion Light Year Galaxy to see.

.

Good reminder. I haven't looked this one up in a while so I think I'll add it to the next list.

 

Such objects as we have on this string bring those amazing thoughts that are different than the amazing sights of the showpiece objects. Both have their place. These tend to be my favorites.


Edited by havasman, 12 February 2019 - 01:40 PM.

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#14 Redbetter

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 01:20 AM

Speaking about IC 1101, this galaxy is a monster!  It is the largest galaxy in the known universe.  Some estimates put it at 6 million light years in diameter, with a mass of 100 trillion suns.  

 

<snip>

 

This is probably the easiest One Billion Light Year Galaxy to see.

ON a really good dark night, it should be visible in a 10" or maybe even an 8" telescope.

 

I haven't ever looked this one up as best I can tell, although I have been aware of it.  Uranometria's Deep Sky Field Guide lists it as 13.7 mag visual, which seems more realistic than the pessimistic 15.1 B mag value given elsewhere.    Looking at some of the data the largest aperture used for one of the V mag determinations of 14.17 was with only a 36.7" aperture.  That is a problem since it at best encloses a more pessimistic estimate of the minor axis of the galaxy, and the major axis is about double that.    The determination is even more complex because the extent of the galaxy is much greater than that in the SDSS II frame and includes other galaxies.  It looks like it extends about 3 arc minutes on the major axis, although perhaps half of this is very low surface brightness past the 25 MPSAS B isophote...but likely considerably closer to 3 in a visual 25 isophote. 

 

I would expect this to be visible in an 8" scope in dark, transparent sky, and it might even be detected in a 6" with difficulty if 13.7 V is realistic.   


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#15 quazy4quasars

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 02:15 AM

 IC1101 is fairly easy to see in 17.5" and I think an 8" would detect it.  6" maybe with Averted Imagination, if one knows where to look. It sits within a large trapezoid of  ~6 - ~7 mag stars just 2 degrees NNW of M5. It's a "red and dead" BCG; big for its distance; and dim, so a dark sky is a big plus for this one, especially with smaller apertures. In overall brightness the stated V~13.7 seems about right.



#16 Pcbessa

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 03:38 AM

Just following this topic.
I only observed a fee galaxies with a small 60mm refractor so far (most distant were in Virgo cluster about 62 millon ly away).

I haven't tried to observe any if he brightest clusters in Leo, Perseus, etc

I just about to receive my new 10 inch. I must just attempt to observe a quasar as it's first target just to boost myself across the 1 billion light years barrier! Wouldn't that be crazy? There are a few around m14...

#17 sgottlieb

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 01:17 PM

Abell 838 in Hydra (~1 BLy} has so far been my most distant galaxy cluster observed.

Serveral cluster galaxies appeared as almost stellar dots at 343x, under perfect seeing and dark skies. 

Those dots popped in only when using averted vision. 

Brightest members at ~15 magv

15" f4,5 Obsession.

Observed on Doi Inthanon, northern Thailand, 8000 ft high location with no light pollution. 

Thanks, I've never run across an observation of Abell 838 before.

 

I just checked the 1995 study "Redshifts of 165 Abell and Southern Rich Clusters of Galaxies" and found it lists a redshift of z = .05.  This translates to a redshift-based distance of ~675 million l.y. (using Ho = 70 km/s/Mpc).  Do you have any additional information on the cluster?



#18 catalogman

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 02:34 PM

This 1980 paper

 

http://adsabs.harvar...ApJS...42..565D

 

confirms a redshift of z = 0.051 and lists 62 members. In CdC, the brightest member is PGC 27509, m = 13.77.

 

The area is 2.1 deg2.

 

--catalogman



#19 quazy4quasars

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 01:41 PM

 I've been looking for targets among BCGs in a number of catalogs in VizieR and HEASARC, mainly compiled from SDSS data. I started to realize that neither the extent nor the total luminosity can be a best indicator of visibility at >1 billion ly:  In a word; extent negates brightness.  So I am focusing on those with the densest central concentration - their cores- as defined by their peak spectroscopic flux - at 5000 angtroms, -i.e I'm looking for the brightest BCG cores.  For these giant elliptical galaxies,  the peak flux shifts increasingly red-ward of our maximum visual sensitivity - lt's like a curtain closing off our view - as the redshift increases.  The emitted flux falls off rapidly blue-wards of the thermal emission peak so this is a very serious impediment going beyond 1 billion ly.

 

  The brightest cores will remain detectable at somewhat greater distances (though appearing more like very,VERY, VERY faint stars), and when found in tight groups, of which a "stellar" example would be Abell 1689  (13h 11m 30s  +1d 20m 22s)  z~.171 (...further than 3c273...!) maybe 15 mag in R, combined-  so, anyone with a really big (under 48") dob, consider this an extreme distant galaxy cluster challenge for Spring... (Actual human night vision required, averted or not.) 

 

Who's with me? Hmm?


Edited by quazy4quasars, 21 February 2019 - 03:32 PM.


#20 quazy4quasars

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 12:23 AM

  Also, there is a "Superluminous Spiral Galaxy"  CGCG 122-067  in Leo,  at z~.089  that merits interest.  It's well placed right now, at 09 44 53.6 +22 53 6.4.   It is a LINER with an active nucleus to boot.  Going on the User Defined List  B mag from E.Flesch  (Million Radio/Xray Asociations Catalog) = 13.3;   WikiSky gives (USNO-R) = 11.8, so the V mag is likely about 12.6.   It's a very rare type of galaxy, actually the closest one known, at 1.2 Billion ly.

 

 It has (or had) a massive blue (star-forming) arms (that's a good thing) and a bright double nucleus. I think these Super Spirals will prove in time to be the results of Elliptical/Spiral/Starforming Galaxy close merges.  Wouldn't it be awesome to see one across more than a Billion light years of space-time?  Oh yes, it will. 


Edited by quazy4quasars, 22 February 2019 - 01:09 AM.


#21 Pcbessa

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:44 AM

I just my new 10" scope and saw the 3 brightest members of the Perseu A cluster. They are magnitude 12-13 galaxies, faint but well visible.

At a distance 240 million light years, so that's my new record. A huge jump from what I could see with my old 60mm refractor!!

In the nights ahead, I Will try to see more galaxy clusters and even some of the brightest quasars near Ursa Major or Draco and boost myself to a few billion light years. Some are magnitude 14 so within the range of my 10inch.

#22 Pcbessa

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:19 AM

What are some of the brightest quasars or galaxies visible at distances of above 1 billion light years, under magnitude 14.5 and visible in northern skies?

#23 quazy4quasars

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 12:54 PM

3c273 will not be high in the sky from Scotland, but at V~12.6  it should still be your first QSO target. That's just tradition.  You get to look up the coordinates for this one.

 

There are 4 others that I'd suggest you try for; some you will have to stay up later. These are from W. Steineke:

http://www.klima-luf.../KHQ/anhang.txt

 

HS 0624+6907         06 30 02.4 +69 05 04   QSO    z 0.370  m14.44

KUV 18217+6419    18 21 57.3 +64 20 36   QSO    z 0.297   m14.24

PG 1634+706           16 34 29.0 +70 31 33   QSO    z 1.337   m14.66

PG 1718+481           17 19 38.4 +48 04 13   QSO    z 1.083  m14.60 

 

QSOs exhibit some variablility over time, as a rule, so the above magnitudes may be regarded as approximate.

 

Whatever you do,  entertain yourself with some online searching; there are a LOT of good resources, Like Heasarc and Vizier. Also, you can generate great finding fields at Wikisky.org.  You have to have good finding fields for low and high magnification. Don't be afraid to push the so-called limits either, by half a mag or even more.  You'll be surprised what that 10" can show under good to great conditions; Just don't expect them to leap out at you:  3c273 excepted, they will appear quite faint, kind if winking in and out of visibility with the seeing.  You'll see more with Averted Vision than direct, most likely. 

 

For Galaxies, well, there are enough listed in this thread already to keep you busy for a while. See above? Bear in mind that Galaxies are dim and diffuse whereas QSOs are effectively point sources. You'll have your work cut out for you to clearly ID even the brightest Giant Elliptical Galaxies at 1 gly. Start with IC 1101. Also look at Steve Gottlieb's' thread "The One-Billion light year club" here on CN.  Happy Hunting.


Edited by quazy4quasars, 22 February 2019 - 07:32 PM.

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#24 Pcbessa

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 09:05 PM

I just had an interesting night
As the moon is mostly gone until midnight I had a try at seeing some really far targets.

First I could say I saw Andromeda parachute but this was only 10℅ of the time due to the proximity to a m12.4 star very neat the quasar.
If I confirm this sight, then this is 11 billion light years away! Because tonight I didn't seenit under the best conditions.

Afterwards I had some fun seeing the Leo cluster slight north of Denebola, and saw some 6 or 7 galaxies. Its a really nice cluster. Most are 300 million light years distance. These were far easier and the moon was already rising by then and dew affecting my primary mirror.

Will try IC1101 and a few more quasars in nights ahead.
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#25 quazy4quasars

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 02:20 PM

  That sounds very, shall I say, positive? promising?   Let us know if(when) you confirm your Parachute sighting.  Sounds like a fun and rewarding evening!  Seems those QSOs I suggested may prove rather easy for you.  Good job!  


Edited by quazy4quasars, 24 February 2019 - 02:21 PM.



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