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
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: Quasar 3C 273 is the easiest quasar visible in amateur telescopes owing to its 12.8 visual magnitude. Similarly, it is one of the most distant objects visible with a backyard telescope at a distance of 2.18 billion light-years away. Quasar 3C 273 has the distinction of being the first quasar discovered (in 1963). Its redshift (z=0.158339) suggests that it is receeding away from us at 14.7% the speed of light (ie. 44,000 km/sec)!
Please click on the image below to display in higher resolution (1200 x 900)
RA / Dec:
12h 29m 07s /
02° 03' 09"
2.18 billion ly
0.12' x 0.08'
Mar 18, 2007
00:15 - 00:45 UT+2
AP 160 f/7.5 StarFire EDF
AP 1200GTO GEM
SBIG LRGB + IR-block