A New Supernova

Click on graphic to see full size.

Click on graphic to see full size.

   In a galaxy not that far away there is a supernova taking place. The galaxy is M-82 and along with its nearby companion galaxy M-81 are in the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The pair of galaxies is around 10-15 degrees from the pointer stars in the Big Dipper’s Bowl.
   Supernova 2014J is currently at around 12th magnitude so it would only be visible with a telescope or with a time exposure picture taken with a camera as the banner graphic at the top of the page shows. However just knowing that when you look in that direction, near the Big Dipper, this type of event is happening. To me this is like the nights when the Moon is near one of the outermost planets or dwarf planets. So far away that like the supernova these objects are not visible to the naked eye, but still they are there where you are looking.

   Banner picture at top of the page is one of many excellent astro pictures by Robert Sparks.

m81-82   M-82 is an irregular galaxy 12 million light years distant that is undergoing ‘turmoil’ on a galactic scale as you can see in the animated picture below. Click here to see a Hubble Space Telescope picture of M-82. Use this link to read more about M-82.
   The supernova in M-82 was first observed about a week ago and has brightened from around 15th magnitude to around 12th magnitude currently. Based on its rate of brightening it is thought that within a week or so the supernova may brighten to around 8th magnitude, making it bright enough to be seen with binoculars. This is considered to be a Type 1a Supernova. Click here to read more about this type of supernova.

Animation of Supernova in M82 - January 22, 2014 by E. Guido, N. Howes, M. Nicolini photo new_animation_supernova_m82_22_gennaio_2014_zpsbd4116c7.gif

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

1 thought on “A New Supernova

  1. Pingback: OWN A Supernova | Bob's Spaces

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