Thursday, July 16, 2015

spotted 3C 332 (Blue Mountains)

Ian and I have been talking about viewing more quasars. I told him that I had a candidate for the evening. Dan was interested too. So we undertook the search with Ian W's big Dobsonian for 3C 332 in Corona Borealis at magnitude 16.0.

It took us a while to find it.

It was, as per usual, a little challenging atop a tall ladder with nothing to hang on to, the step height not quite right, the stars drifting by in the field. We got in the neighbour using the RA and Dec from the computer and the push-to encoders and a low power Tele Vue. Complicating matters was that Ian's SkyTools 3 Pro, under Windows 8, on his tablet/notebook, was doing something weird: the field-of-view circle was not showing, or showing correctly. Some strange Win 8 video driver issue with high DPI screens... Finally, in frustration, I fetched my netbook with my SkyTools.

With Ian at the eyepiece and me holding the netbook over my head so he could glance at it, we completed the starhop. I had another look. Oh! Yeah, no problem. No problem seeing the quasar with direct vision with the high power ocular. In fact, I had spotted it before, thinking it a field star. South-east of GSC 02580-1473 and GSC 02580-1636. Almost exactly between 1473 and GSC 02580-1239.

SkyTools says the quasi-stellar object (QSO) has a red shift of 0.15 and a light travel time of 1.8 gigayears. Not the furthest; but the faintest.

That's 5 quasars for me now, 5 visually observed.

Lots of others had a look. A first for many.

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