Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Quasar Image Gallery

Quasars or quasi-stellar radio source are sources of electromagnetic energy which are characterized with high red shifts, thus leading scientists to conclude that not only they are moving away but are also at a great distance from us. Of the over 100,000 quasars identified to-date, the greatest proportion are over one billion light-years away (the closest quasar identified to-date is 780 million light-years away whereas the most distant quasar discovered so far is 13 billion light-years away). As a result, quasars represent entities from the universe's distant past.

Given their visibility (generally as point sources of light), it follows they must be associated with tremendous amounts of energy which is only exceeded in intensity by supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. Some examples of quasars also involve the centers of (active) galaxies and which has led to the suggestion that supermassive black holes at the galaxy center and the consequent accretion of material must fuel these quasars. The rapid change in luminosity observed for some quasars also suggests they must be relatively small entities.

Note: QSO 0957+561 lying at a distance of 7.8 billion light-years away has the distinction of being the first gravitationally lensed object identified (1979). Due to an intervening mass lying in the optical path between earth and the quasar, the light from the quasar is bent (as predicted by Einstein), thus yielding two images of the source with relative magnitudes of 16.7 (QSO 0957+561A) and 16.5 (QSO 0957+561B) and with an apparent separation of only 6 arc-seconds. The edge-on galaxy partially visible in the image below is NGC 3079 (mag 10.9). With a redshift value of z=1.414, this quasar is receeding away from us at nearly 71% the speed of light (ie. 210,000 km/sec).

Please click on the image below to display in higher resolution (1200 x 900)

Image Details
QSO 0957+561 - Quasar in Ursa Major
Imaging Details
3C Number:

Common Name(s):
Twin Quasar,
Old Faithful

Other Designations:
QSO 0957+561,
QSO 0957+561A,
QSO 0957+561B

Object Type:

Object Classif:

Ursa Major

RA / Dec:
10h 01m 21s /
55 53' 52"

7.8 billion ly

Object Size:
0.15' x 0.10'

Mar 23-24, 2007
23:30 - 00:15 UT+2

Athens, Greece

AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF
SBIG LRGB filters

Lum :  45 min (15 x 3 min)
Red :  N/A
Green :  N/A
Blue :  N/A
Dark :  45 min (15 x 3 min)
Flat :  ~ 36,000 ADU
Binning :  1x1 (Lum),  1x1 (RGB)

Ambient : + 14.6 C
CCD Chip : - 17.5 C

CCDSoft V5.00.182
CCDSharp V1.4
AIP4Win V2.1.19
Photoshop CS2