The brightest quasar: 3C 273 and its jet

The first quasar identified and the brightest in apparent magnitude, 3C 273 is unusually luminous for being so nearby, and has by far the brightest optical jet known among quasars. This montage illustrates its appearance on Palomar Sky Survey plates, where a hint of the jet appears; on an excellent ground-based image, showing not only the jet but the fuzzy glow of the giant host galaxy around the brilliant nucleus; and an HST images detailing the complex structure of the jet itself with the nucleus safely outside the field of view. This jet is unique in its complex structure, with extensions to the side at both ends that have no radio counterparts. Indeed, unlike optical jets seen in radio galaxies, there are major differences between the radio and optical structures of this jet.

Herman-Josef Roeser provided copies of his HST images of the jet and the ground-based image from the ESO New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla, Chile. The jet image used WFPC2 and a near-IR I band filter, while the NTT image is a red-light exposure.

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