Amateur astronomer images water-laden quasar

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Well, Greek astroimager par excellence Anthony Ayiomamitis has done it again. Just a day after I told you about Anthony’s extraordinary image of the brown dwarf LSR0602+3910, he sent me an image and some links regarding another big recent news story. A few days ago, NASA researchers announced the discovery of the largest reservoir of water known in the cosmos. This reservoir, which amounts to 140 trillion times the amount of water on Earth, exists in a cloud surrounding an enormous black hole in the center of quasar APM 08279+5255, some 12 billion light-years away in the constellation Lynx. The quasar glows at the incredibly bright magnitude of 15.2, meaning its luminosity, considering the incredible distance, makes it as bright as 100 billion Suns.

Anthony Ayiomamitis
Amazingly, Anthony imaged this quasar in 2008, and the image is reproduced on the right. He used a 6-inch f/7.5 Astro-Physics StarFire refractor, an SBIG ST-2000XM CCD camera, and a series of stacked exposures that you can read about on Anthony’s page.

If you would like to learn more about the quasar and its huge reservoir of water, check out the news story on Astronomy.com.

Enjoy!

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