3C 279

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3C 279
Gamma-Ray Quasar 3C 279.jpg
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Right ascension 12h 56m 11.1s[1]
Declination−05° 47′ 22″[1]
Redshift0.5362 ± 0.0004[1]
Apparent magnitude (V)17.8[1]
Other designations
3C279 , 4C –05.55 , NRAO 413 , PKS 1253–05
See also: Galaxy, List of galaxies

3C 279 (also known as 4C–05.55, NRAO 413, and PKS 1253–05) is an optically violent variable quasar (OVV), which is known in the astronomical community for its variations in the visible, radio, and x-ray bands.[2] The quasar was observed to have undergone a period of extreme activity from 1987 until 1991.[3] The Rosemary Hill Observatory (RHO) started observing 3C 279 in 1971,[3] the object was further observed by the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991, when it was unexpectedly discovered to be one of the brightest gamma ray objects in the sky.[4] It is also one of the brightest and most variable sources in the gamma ray sky monitored by the Fermi Space Telescope.

Apparent superluminal motion was detected during observations first made in 1973 in a jet of material departing from the quasar, though it should be understood that this effect is an optical illusion caused by naive estimations of the speed, and no truly superluminal motion is occurring.[5]


Artist's impression of the quasar 3C 279.


  1. ^ a b c d "NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database". Results for 3C 279. Retrieved 2006-12-04.
  2. ^ Resonant absorption troughs in the gamma-ray spectra of QSO See section 4.2
  3. ^ a b J. R. Webb; M. T. Carini; S. Clements; S. Fajardo; P. P. Gombola; R. J. Leacock; et al. (1990). "The 1987-1990 optical outburst of the OVV quasar 3C 279". Astronomical Journal. 100: 1452–1456. Bibcode:1990AJ....100.1452W. doi:10.1086/115609.
  4. ^ APOD: December 26, 1998 - Gamma Ray Quasar
  5. ^ Apparent superluminal motion