OWN A Supernova

   Last month I wrote about a new supernova recently discovered in M-82, an irregular shaped galaxy in the constellation of Ursa Major the Great Bear. Supernova 2014J has been a challenge for me to image due to either cloudy skies and or very low temperatures. So I turned to a celestial paparazzi’s next best friend – an automated telescope operating in a location where the skies are usually clear. My choice for very easy access and of course a good price (free) is the OWN, Observe With NASA telescope in Arizona. I have written about this stellar opportunity previously in ‘OWN Your Own Astrophotos’, and ‘OWN The Sky’.
   Latest reports suggest that since the supernova has not continued to brighten it may have reached its maximum magnitude which currently is around 10th magnitude.

   The slideshow below has some of the most recent images requested from the OWN telescope. The first three are of the galaxy M-82 with the supernova and the others are some of the other galaxies that were up that night (31 January). These pictures are the unretouched GIF images I received by e-mail and are not the image processed images from the FITS file.

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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.

OWN the Sky!

Centaurus A

Centaurus A

   With the OWN web site you will be able to request images from an automated-telescope located at the Whipple Observatory in Amado Arizona. The telescope that will be used is part of a network of 6-inch reflector telescopes equipped with a CCD camera that are accessible via the web site. The web site, OWN, Observing With NASA, is maintained through a joint venture between NASA and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Whirlpool Galaxy

Whirlpool Galaxy

   From the OWN web site you will be able to request images of a variety of objects including the Sun, our Moon, planets, galaxies, nebula, and even asteroids. Allowing a couple of days for your image(s) to be taken you will then receive an e-mail notification that your images are ready for download. Once downloaded the images, in the FITS image format, are then loaded into the MicroObservatory Image Processing software and processed. The FITS, Flexible Image Transport System, is not the typical GIF or JPEG type of image file as the FITS image contains all of the data collected by the CCD. By having all data within the file allows it to be processed more so than how a graphic editing program would.

    There is no fee for using the OWN system, and the MicroObservatory software is free and is available in PC, Mac, and Linux versions. On a PC the software is extracted from the downloaded file into a folder. Since the software is not actually installed on the computer that means it can run from a Flash Drive or from a CD – which usually makes the IT folks happy!

    If you are close by and would like a workshop for teachers or for a classroom get in touch and we will work out the particulars. No charge but I may ask for lunch!

    Click here to go to the OWN web site.

      Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.