Quasar 3C 273 and its relativistic jet: an image – 14 Feb. 2024.

We managed to capture the brightest quasar in the sky, 3C 273, and its relativistic jet.

Quasar 3C-273 and its relativistic jet. 14 Feb. 2024.

Quasar 3C-273 and its relativistic jet. 14 Feb. 2024.

The image above comes from the average of five, 300-second exposures, unfiltered and unguided, remotely taken with the C14+Paramount ME+ST8-XME robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project facility in Manciano, Italy. The image was gently processed to show the faint relativistic jet emerging from the quasar.

3C 273 is the brightest quasar (QUASi-stellAR radio source: a strong radio source looking stellar in optical telescopes) in our sky. Its puzzling nature was solved in 1963, when its exceptional redshift was properly recognized and its distance (almost 3 billion light years) made clear. This is the prototype of active galactic nuclei (AGN): a supermassive black hole (about 900 million of solar masses) lies in the center of the hosting galaxy. Accretion of this extreme black hole produces the energy we see.

In our image, a 20” jet, coming from the object and pointing to NE, is clearly visible. Likely, it is due to the interaction of the SMBL and the accretion disk.

In 2013, we measured the redshift of 3C 273, using our low-res spectrograph.

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