This image is far different from what I normally post. In fact, it is so different that I am going to have a hard time explaining what this thing actually is.
3C 273 is a magnitude 12.9 quasar located in the constellation Virgo. It was the first quasar to ever be identified, and was discovered in the early 1960s by astronomer Allan Sandage.
"Quasar : A massive and extremely remote celestial object, emitting exceptionally large amounts of energy, and typically having a starlike image in a telescope. It has been suggested that quasars contain massive black holes and may represent a stage in the evolution of some galaxies. Quasars live only in galaxies with supermassive black holes — black holes that contain billions of times the mass of our Sun."
If 3C 273 was at a distance of about 30 light years, it would be as bright as our Sun. So, how far away IS this quasar?
It is at a distance of about 2.5 billion light years. The Andromeda galaxy is at a distance of about 2.5 million light years. That means 3C 273 is 1,000 times more distant.
The spectral lines of 3C 273 are shifted to the red by 16 %, so this bizarre object is moving away from us at 16 % of the speed of light, or about 30,000 miles every second. Let that sink in for a moment . . .
3C 273 sometimes brightens to magnitude 11.7, but can fade to magnitude 13.2.
To put things into perspective . . . sure . . . The radius of our Universe is about 46.5 billion light years.
My inane reason for imaging 3C 273 with my Questar-iPhone SE is quite simple. This is probably the most distant object I will ever grab with this telescope-camera.
This is about as faint as I can image with my gear, short of committing a crime.
(Courtesy SkySafari 6 Pro, Wikipedia, NASA)
89mm f/14.6 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, 16mm Brandon eyepiece, iPhone SE camera, NightCap Camera, ISO 8,000, 60 individual 10 second exposures stacked with Nebulosity 4. Processed with Apple Photos and GIMP.
The field of view is slightly over 1/2 degree.
The limiting magnitude is about 15.
Imaged June 2, 2019.