Neat that this post got started just as I was getting ready to hunt down some “deep” galaxies I learned about last year in a post by Timo Karhula titled “1.55 billion light-years distant galaxy with 12-inch”. In that post Timo told about his observation of the 1.55 Gyr galaxy PGC 46931 and Quazy4quasars mentioned that he might be able to see PGC 37477 at 1.8 Gyr. Plus, Astro-Master mentioned IC 1101 as the brightest galaxy to see 1.1 Gyr away.
Using my 10” SCT, I got out and found IC 1101 bright enough to be visible at even 91x. I would have to say that it’s so bright that it would be a great challenge for the owner of a 6”-7” telescope. I found PGC 46931 to be harder, but with only 153x I could hold it with averted vision. I think the right owner of an 8” telescope should just find it visible (catch my drift Luca Brasi or Pcbessa?). PGC 37477 proved to be the hardest and at first I was using 322x and could only barely glimpse it. After backing down to 153x I saw it a little easier. I’ve been using high power so much on things I forgot that a more moderate magnification works best these kinds of galaxies.
If you thought any of that was impressive, this will truly blow your mind. Last year I first learned of a lensed quasar known as APM 08279+5255 from seeing it listed on Larry Mitchell’s 2001 Advanced Observing list for T.S.P. that year. It was listed as magnitude “15.” with an impressive redshift of z=3.91. That turned me on and I found that it did indeed look possibly bright enough for me on DSS images. So I tried for it once back in early January and felt that I was very close to seeing it. I tried for it again under even better conditions a week ago and came away with a sighting of it at 322x. Which to those in the know means I got enough bright “pops” that I was seeing it – aided somewhat because I knew almost right where to look. Want to know more about APM 08279+5255? Just look for Steve Gottlieb’s article in the May issue of S&T!
So my old distance record was 12.0 Gyr (z=3.91) and my new one is 12.1 Gyr (z=3.62). That’s not much of a change, is it? Well, that’s only because last spring I saw the quasar B1422+231 in Boötes. Before that is was Andromeda’s Parachute (cute name) at 11.05 Gyr (z=2.37). Pretty darn cool.
Great thread everybody!