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What's the most distant object you've seen?

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I was stoked to see the M81 galaxy last night with 10x50 binos. A new record for me, at 12M light years. In fact, "see" might be overstating it, but there was definitely something there...

Anyway, it has got me wondering what's possible for an amateur. What's the most distant thing you've seen, and with what kit? I'm asking as a beginner and a visual observer. I guess imaging would need a separate competition!

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With those bino's you should be able to see:

HD 140283

only about 190ly away, but possibly the "oldest" thing you'll ever see,,

P

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I've managed to see some galaxies that are around 300 million light years distant but the most distant object I've managed to see was the quasar 3C 273 which is in Virgo. It's the brightest quasar at magnitude 12.9 and one of the closest to us at around 2.6 billion light years away. It was just a tiny speck of light in the eyepiece field of view with my 12" dobsonian :smiley:

 
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M81 in binocs is good, well done!

Most distant I've seen (I think) is M49 at 72 million light years. Have imaged 3C273 but not found it visually, yet.

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I managed OJ-287 with my C8. At 3.5 billion light years it easily beat my previous record set by 3C273 in Virgo (a mere 2.4 billion light years ;)) which is quite easy, visually. Not much to look at (just a stellar object), but the fact that the light took more than half the age of the Earth to reach my retina makes them special

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I don't eyeball any more from here in the London suburbs on DSOs but have captured in a few seconds exposure the grav- lensed quasar in Lynx @ 12 billion light years. At mag 16 so visible in big amateur scopes :-)

Nytecam

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3C273 in Virgo. It's quite far away but the numbers are beyond my current capacity to recall useless facts :grin:

Edit: Just seen Michael's post - 2.4 billion light years :eek:

Edited by David Smith
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I don't eyeball any more from here in the London suburbs on DSOs but have captured in a few seconds exposure the grav- lensed quasar in Lynx @ 12 billion light years. At mag 16 so visible in big amateur scopes :-)

Nytecam

That is going to be hard to beat visually. That is a bit more than 2 magnitudes fainter than OJ-287 (mag 13.9), or some 6.9x. That requires 2.6x more aperture than my C8, or a 21" scope, assuming the object is stellar. For an extended source (and lensed quasars often are extended) you need another magnitude gain, roughly, so that would mean 30" or beyond. Not impossible, but extremely hard. 

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I managed OJ-287 with my C8. At 3.5 billion light years it easily beat my previous record set by 3C273 in Virgo (a mere 2.4 billion light years ;)) which is quite easy, visually. Not much to look at (just a stellar object), but the fact that the light took more than half the age of the Earth to reach my retina makes them special

Thats one of the things that used to fascinate me about collecting meteorite specimens. You could hold in the palm of you hand material that had been formed 4.5 billion years ago :shocked:

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Thats one of the things that used to fascinate me about collecting meteorite specimens. You could hold in the palm of you hand material that had been formed 4.5 billion years ago :shocked:

I tend to say that daylight is fresh, young light, but light from galaxies is fossil light (or at least prehistoric). The light from the Andromeda galaxy is from before the dawn of man. Humbling thought

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I tend to say that daylight is fresh, young light, but light from galaxies is fossil light (or at least prehistoric). The light from the Andromeda galaxy is from before the dawn of man. Humbling thought

that is a humbling thought michael, never thought of it like that :grin:

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With those bino's you should be able to see:

HD 140283

only about 190ly away, but possibly the "oldest" thing you'll ever see,,

P

Not the answer I expected but an absolutely brilliant answer nevertheless. I had to google it to find out what it was, and it has gone straight onto my list of targets. Many thanks :-)

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Thanks for all the great replies folks. It's a pleasure to be part of such a great community. A few new interesting objects to add to the list of targets. I wouldn't have guessed quasars were visible except with world class kit.

Kudos to the universe too I suppose, which never ceases to amaze. Staggering that it has (or had?) objects so mind boggling bright that we can see them with modest kit despite their equally mind boggling distance.

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Not the answer I expected but an absolutely brilliant answer nevertheless. I had to google it to find out what it was, and it has gone straight onto my list of targets. Many thanks :-)

Me too - I've not yet seen this one.

Thats the thing about a lot of these objects, they are not much to look at in themselves but once you know a little about what you are looking at they take on a real fascination :smiley:

On the outskirts of the Triangulum Galaxy (M33) there is a little splodge of nebulous light next to a foreground star. I can see this object fairly easily with my 12" dob. This is NGC 604 which is actually a massive nebula within the M33 galaxy itself. If it were in our galaxy at the same distance apparently it would be many times larger and brighter than the famous M42 in Orion.

The Universe is really an amazing place :grin:

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Me too - I've not yet seen this one.

Thats the thing about a lot of these objects, they are not much to look at in themselves but once you know a little about what you are looking at they take on a real fascination :smiley:

On the outskirts of the Triangulum Galaxy (M33) there is a little splodge of nebulous light next to a foreground star. I can see this object fairly easily with my 12" dob. This is NGC 604 which is actually a massive nebula within the M33 galaxy itself. If it were in our galaxy at the same distance apparently it would be many times larger and brighter than the famous M42 in Orion.

The Universe is really an amazing place :grin:

Might want to give that a go some time soon

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I don't eyeball any more from here in the London suburbs on DSOs but have captured in a few seconds exposure the grav- lensed quasar in Lynx @ 12 billion light years. At mag 16 so visible in big amateur scopes :-)

Nytecam

Remember the Hubble Deep Field Challenge?

Using our amatuer equipment we found we could pick up magnitude 21-22 objects! Not necessarilly hugely distant- but super faint galaxies none-the-less.

My effort.

Lodestar%20HDF_zpsjd3hy7zz.png

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I don't eyeball any more from here in the London suburbs on DSOs but have captured in a few seconds exposure the grav- lensed quasar in Lynx @ 12 billion light years. At mag 16 so visible in big amateur scopes :-)

Nytecam

Remember the Hubble Deep Field Challenge?

Using our amatuer equipment we found we could pick up magnitude 21-22 objects! Not necessarilly hugely distant- but super faint galaxies none-the-less.

My effort.

Lodestar%20HDF_zpsjd3hy7zz.png

I believe the op is asking about visual :)

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the most distant thing I can see is an end to this cloud....

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These objects were definately beyond the MK1 eyeball!

Must be a VA joke...I don't get it :)

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So far Leo triplet 35 kly away with my 60mm.

However, I have to say that among the more or less 200 objects I have seen so far, galaxies have not been my main targets. On the other hand I did not know how to look at them with my little telescope. After reading some thread by the Dobmob gang here on SGL and how they use high power eps to spot small faint objects otherwise invisible, I decided to use the same approach for those targets that look faint on my telescope. 

So far this has worked on bright-ish glob clusters, M32 and M110 (all objects which are quite small at 15x, but become easily visible at 51x). I will give a proper go on the Messier galaxies in Virgo and Leo next spring under reasonably dark sky.

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There are some useful lists of the brightest quasars:

http://spider.seds.org/spider/Misc/qso.html

http://www.klima-luft.de/steinicke/KHQ/khq_e.htm

http://evaconline.org/obspgm-quasars.htm

I have only seen 3C 273, Mrk 421 and OJ-287 to date. Mrk-501 in Hercules and PKS 2155-304 in PsA should be in range of my scope (the latter only from further south, however. Some others on the list require a bit of luck, catching them when they peak in brightness

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So far Leo triplet 35 kly away with my 60mm.

However, I have to say that among the more or less 200 objects I have seen so far, galaxies have not been my main targets. On the other hand I did not know how to look at them with my little telescope. After reading some thread by the Dobmob gang here on SGL and how they use high power eps to spot small faint objects otherwise invisible, I decided to use the same approach for those targets that look faint on my telescope. 

So far this has worked on bright-ish glob clusters, M32 and M110 (all objects which are quite small at 15x, but become easily visible at 51x). I will give a proper go on the Messier galaxies in Virgo and Leo next spring under reasonably dark sky.

Pleasant surprise piero. Leo triplet is 35million ly not 35thousand :)

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I was stoked to see the M81 galaxy last night with 10x50 binos. A new record for me, at 12M light years. In fact, "see" might be overstating it, but there was definitely something there...

Anyway, it has got me wondering what's possible for an amateur. What's the most distant thing you've seen, and with what kit? I'm asking as a beginner and a visual observer. I guess imaging would need a separate competition!

M81 and M82 both in the same field of view. They are apparently both about 12 million light years from Mars so they are the most distant objects (in this context) I have ever seen directly. But galaxies are clusters of objects. Most distant singular object I can confirm is Uranus, altho I am pretty sure I have seen Neptune, it doesnt appear different to a star so I have to rely on comparing what I see in my scope to what I see in Cartes Du Ciel (similar to Stellarium, but compatible with my computer).

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Pleasant surprise piero. Leo triplet is 35million ly not 35thousand :)

Oops, a clear mistake! :smiley:

Of course, otherwise they would very impressive, if not unforgettable, considering Andromeda is 2m ly from us!  :eek:

Thanks for the correction!  

Piero

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