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Optical Observations of Quasars

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John Bally

Department of Astronomy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01002




One of the outstanding problems of astronomy concerns the nature of quasars. Many of these objects show variations in energy output at optical as well as radio frequencies. The existence of correlations between the two frequency bands may provide important clues to the physical nature of these sources. Whether or not the theory of synchrotron radiation by fast particles, which seems capable of explaining certain aspects of radio variability, can also explain the optical radiation may well be decided by such measurements. As with most variable stars, professional observers do not have the equipment or manpower to provide adequate data coverage and amateurs with large telescopes or photographic equipment have an opportunity to contribute significantly to this field. A number of radio-active quasars have optical counterparts as bright as m(sub)v=13 or brighter and could provide a challenge to amateurs with appropriate equipment.


Link to ADS abstract, article and citation information

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