APM08279+5255 : An ultraluminous Broad Absorption Line Quasar

*** Now confirmed as the Brightest Object in the Universe by the Guinness Book of Records ***
 
 
During an observing run for my carbon star survey, I  was part of a team which discovered an extremely bright, broad absorption line (BAL) quasar. I had identified the quasar as a carbon stars candidate because of its extremely red colour.  When it was observed during the survey, the spectra recorded showed that it was in fact a quasar with a red-shift of 3.78  This quasar (APM0827) was interesting because despite the huge distance implied by its red-shift, it had been mistaken for a star in our own Galaxy.  This quasar has since been confirmed as the brightest object known in the Universe.  The light from this object has taken 11 billion years to reach Earth and left the quasar when the Universe was only about 10% of its present age.  Our team of international researchers are now trying to understand the energy source involved in
producing such a huge amount of light in such a relatively small volume of space.  The light from the quasar is like a pencil beam of light which allows us to use the spectrum recorded to investigate the intervening objects along its path
 
 

This picture is an R-band image of the Ultra-luminous quasar, taken at the Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, La Palma.