After gradually fading down to about visual mag 16.5 in
mid-April, this blazar (8 billion light-years out) has
brightened up nearly three magnitudes following a short-lived
gamma-ray outburst. It was as bright as mag 11.5 last winter,
the brightest quasar outburst ever observed, and was visible
in big binoculars and small telescopes. As of about 5am
this morning (Apr 30.5 UT), it is about mag 13.8 visually.
It's anyone's guess as to where it will go next. If you happen
to be a pre-dawn observer, it may be worth following in the
I've posted the recent lightcurve here:
The magnitudes are Sloan r', which are about 0.25-0.3 mag
brighter than visual. The data are from the Lowell 0.7-m
robotic telescope, plus one morning's dataset from
Tom Polakis's 0.32-m backyard telescope in Tempe AZ.
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