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Littleguy80

Quasar PG 1634+706 (8.6 Billion Light Years)

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I recently observed my first Quasar, 3C 273.0, which is in Virgo. It's listed as being 2 billion lights years from Earth. A phenomenal distance and a pretty impressive distance record. SkySafari lists it at mag 12.85 which is achievable in a great many scopes. After reporting on this success, Stephan @Nyctimene, made the excellent suggestion of trying for the Quasar PG 1634+706. This Quasar is in Draco and is a mind bending 8.6 billion light years away. Any light that reaches your eye from this target will have been travelling for more than half the known lifetime of the universe! 

Last night, I had my first attempt at viewing this target from home. My skies are around 19.5 SQM. I was using my 10" dob and after some experimenting, settled on my Lunt XWA 9mm paired with the Baader VIP barlow, giving 267x magnification, a 0.4 degree TFOV and just under 1mm exit pupil. There are two mag 8 stars near by and I used these are my jump off point. My process was to begin by identifying the stars that were visible in the eyepiece in SkySafari. Initially, I picked up a mag 11 and then a mag 12 star. I was then able to form a triangle with a mag 13 that is very close to the Quasar. I started picking up a mag 14 star intermittently with adverted vision. The Quasar is mag 14.6 and seemed to be within reach. However, despite a couple of possible sightings, I eventually had to admit defeat on this occasion. I intend to return to this target from my local dark site which has an SQM reading of over 21. This should bring the Quasar into range, I hope!

I intend to update this thread with my future attempts to view this object. I hope others will also share their attempts and successes. I've also included a SkySafari observing list of Quasars that I've created which includes both 3C273.0 and PG 1634+706. Happy hunting!

Quasars.skylist

The image below is from the Interstellarum Deep Sky Guide. I've marked the 4 stars mentioned above with their magnitudes as recorded in SkySafari. 

fullsizeoutput_14c80.thumb.jpeg.07f1a217370162fa0b988ce99645eafa.jpeg

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Great stuff Neil despite not (quite) getting it.

I reckon mag 14.7 is the faintest point source that I've seen with my 12" dob so you are doing well to get close to that with your 10". Sounds like you will get it next time out !

It's great fun to try and see these immensely distant objects I think :icon_biggrin:

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Thanks Neil for the more detailed map and I will be pleased to receive further updates from you. I am certainly going to give this quasar a go.

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I've got a picture of it somewhere taken a few years ago.

Dave

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That is an exciting target for sure, I have never attempted anything so distant. I will keep this in mind, sounds like one of those objects which takes some planning. I will follow this thread to see your progress, definitely something I would love to point my dob at sometime.

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Neil,

congrats to your almost successful attempt to observe PG 164+706 - I'm sure, that you will spot it from your dark sky location with SQM values of 21+ mag. German amateur Klaus Wenzel found it in1998 with his 12.5" with direct vision under (then) suburban/rural transition skies, and reports, that another amateur, Zellhuber, was able to make it out with an 8" under alpine conditions. The trapezium of four stars you've marked is similarly my star-hop approach with the 18"; the 13.04 and 14.03 mag stars form a "wimpy" right-angled triangle with the quasar. Perhaps you have to increase the magnification beyond 300x (given that the seeing is good). Give it another go, and let us know; good luck with the hunt!

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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Nice post! Very interesting indeed - you've inspired me to try it ;)

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