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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Bright Supernova 2014J in Galaxy M82!

Supernova 2014J in galaxy M82 imaged using iTelescope T5. The image is a stack of 2 x 60 second unfiltered images.  The supernova is indicated by the arrows. Click to embiggen

A bright new Type 1a supernova has been discovered in the galaxy M82, it has now been given the permanent designation of SN 2014J. Currently around magnitude 11 (I get it a little bit brighter), it is expected to brighten over the coming days, and may reach the binocular visible level of magnitude 8.

The supernova was discovered by accident, during a workshop on CCD imaging techniques. It is one of the closest supernova to us in recent decades.

 Chart of the region around M82, the circle indicates the field of view of 10x50 binoculars. Click to embiggen.

Unfortunately it is only visible from the northern hemisphere, in the Constellation of Ursa Major, not far from the brightest star in Ursa Major, Dubhe. The Galaxy M82 is reasonably bright, at magnitude 8.6, and the brightening supernova can be picked up with relatively short exposures. At the moment the best time to image the supernova is between 12:00 am and 2:000 am, when it is high in the sky. 

There is a nice animation here. Some confirmation images from the Remanzacco Observatory are here, and Peter Lake gives a nice overview of supernova hunting.

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Thanks for the helpful chart. I'm very much a beginner and couldn't find it with binoculars last night but will keep trying. Great photo too.
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