Melbourne 2/9/2011 4:26:20 PM
News / Nature

Amateur Astronomy's Dimmest Targets

An Amateur Sets New Benchmarks in Extreme Imaging.

In 2007, a pair amateur astrophotographers in the USA combined more than 12 hours of exposures through 16" and 20" telescopes to image a distant high-redshift quasar.  The magnitude of the quasar was measured at 24.8. This was a magnificent achievement.

However this week Dr. Christian Sasse smashed both of these old records by imaging an even more distant quasar on the very edge of our visible universe, and also a dim galaxy of magnitude 26.9 in the same field of view.
Not satisfied with this and inspired by his astronomer friends at Global Rent a Scope he went even deeper. Christian committed himself to another 6 hours of additional observing last night with the G17 telescope, and now has data totaling over 16 hours on this very deep field exposure. He was amazed that the dimmest galaxy on the specialist astronomical database he was using to check his results, indicated he had in fact captured a galaxy with an extremely faint magnitude of 28.5 plainly appeared in his image. This is 30 times dimmer than the previous record.
Another new record for an amateur astronmer on modest equipment compared to the multi million dollar telescopes 'professionals' use. Indeed he actually managed to surpass some of the Big Boys with what he laughingly refers to as the 'Sasse Deep Field' image.

This observation has been validated and is a remarkable achievement for astronomy on a non mega budget.

Well Done Christian and G17.