Sunday, April 27, 2014

quasar hunting

At the DDO last night, Ian and I started chatting about the quasar (HS 1603+3820) I had spotted using his 'scope, his 20-inch custom Newtonian. And that, for both of us, it was one of the most (if not the most) distant object viewed. We wondered out loud how far away it was.

I said I thought it was something like 9 billion light years. But when I searched my blog, in the iTouch, I found two different numbers: 3.9 versus 9.4. Huh? I wasn't sure which was right! The 9.4 Gyr was in the event report, from July 2011; the 3.9 Gyr from my year-in-review summary. I'd need to check SkyTools to verify.

Drew overheard the conversation and was very intrigued. I made a note to loop him in.

I was still feeling wired when I got home Saturday night so started following up on various matters. In ST3P, I found the following:

HS 1603+3820
16h04m55.4s by +38°12'01 (J2000) in Corona Borealis
Magnitude: 15.90 V
Redshift (z): 2.51
Light Time: 9.4 Gyr

Very interesting. And I discovered I'd made a typo in the review article. Corrected it.

Then Ian suggested "next time, we need to find this one: APM 08279+5255." And he sent along some annotated charts. I found it in SkyTools.

APM 08279+5255
08h31m41.6s by +52°45'18" in Lynx
Magnitude: 17.10 V
Redshift (z): 3.91
Light Time: 10.0 Gyr

Best viewed in March. Still above the 2 air mass into June.

Ian said that other sites reported it at "apparent mag 15.2." And suggested if it could not be spotted visually, then he'd image it. Mag 19 galaxies appeared all the time in his images. I added Ian's quasar to my SkyTools lists.

Then Drew chimed in. "Excellent! I've never attempted to image a quasar before!"

Looks like there will be some quasar shots this summer!

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