Observing site: Ulvila Observatory, Finland
Instrument: C280/2750 mm (11” Catadioptric)
Darkness of the background sky: 4
Weather: Mostly clear sky, some high clouds approaching from the west, 1/4 Moon in the sky, -7C
Objects observed: CTA 102
During the evening of Finnish independence day, the sky was clear, and I had read about very distant blazar that had been getting brighter during recent days. I decided, that I want to try to observe it by myself also! I drove to the Ulvila observatory. 1/4 Moon was shining in the sky, and there was already some high clouds in the western sky.
Nevertheless, I decided to give this fascinating object a try! And I’m glad I did, because even though the conditions were not very favorable, I was still able to clearly observe this extremely distant object with my own eyes in the ocular! It was stellar in appearance, as you might guess, but still it was a captivating sight! Just imagining the vast distant of the object, and the fact, that my eyes were recepting photons, that were billions of years old!
I wrote following notes of this observation:
This quasar (or blazar) that was in exceptionally bright outburst while I was making the observation, appeare (of course) stellar at all powers. Interesting fact about this object is, that the light from the object is 8 billion years old (red shift 1.037), but the distance of the object now is ~11 billion light years! Amazing! This most easily be the most distant object that is easily visible with amateur equipment. I didn’t make a brightness estimation because of poor conditions, but according to other observers, the brightness of the object was about 12,9 magnitudes.