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Supernova in m101

  1. Sep 16, 2011 #1

    DaveC426913

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    Anyone know what its current mag is and will be over the next little while? I may be too late.

    I went out last night for a couple of hours but could not make it out.

    If there's a website that shows its likely mag over the next little while, I'd be appreciative.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2011 #2
    I was told by a friend that it was supposed to be peaking this weekend or next week, though he is a far cry from an official source. I would love to know as well, I've tried to see it almost every night and either I'm too late and the moon is brightening everything else out or it's cloudy.
     
  4. Sep 16, 2011 #3
    You are likely too late, its brightness peaked at +10 on September 3, and type 1a supernova's luminosities drop off quite quickly. I was at a star party on August 25-28 and then, with an 8" telescope, I could just barely make it out. I know that the AAVSO(American Association of Variable Star Observers) put a request for data on it out, so there might be a light curve of it available in the coming weeks.

    Edit: found the link I was looking for:
    http://www.aavso.org/sites/default/files/images/SN2011fe_2011Sep06.png

    This shows the light curve up to September 7th, which shows it hovering around that +10 magnitude. I would estimate that it's probably at a +11 to +12 now, so with a moderately sized (8+inches (6 if you have really good eyes)) you should be able to see it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  5. Sep 16, 2011 #4

    DaveC426913

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    That is precisely what I was hoping for, while simultaneously completely not expecting.

    Ah. I did not realize it was that dim. My scope is 6", but it is in dire need of a cleaning and maybe a collimation. Also my eyes are old, and my city is lousy with light pollution.

    I have been trying to spot merely the galaxy, and have had no luck.
     
  6. Sep 16, 2011 #5
    Hey, head outside of the city a ways; find some dark skies and see what you can see. If you can't see the supernova, look at something else, there's an entire universe out there. :smile:
     
  7. Sep 16, 2011 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Yeah, I've seen some of it. Haven't had my scope out for a year or two now.
     
  8. Sep 16, 2011 #7

    Drakkith

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    Thinking about getting my scope out tonight and grabbing some pics myself! Too bad I won't be home in time to get M101. By the time I get home and get set up it will already be under the trees near my house.
     
  9. Sep 16, 2011 #8

    DaveC426913

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    They're not like rainbows, they're far away.
     
  10. Sep 16, 2011 #9

    Drakkith

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    I think I meant to say behind the trees. :rofl:

    But imagine the pot of gold you would find at the end of the galaxy! It would be HUGE!
     
  11. Sep 16, 2011 #10

    DaveC426913

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    In case, Lacy33 didn't warn you, I tend to deliver my humor deadpan. :wink:
     
  12. Sep 16, 2011 #11

    Drakkith

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    Hrmm, I don't think I got that one.
     
  13. Sep 17, 2011 #12

    tony873004

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    sfgate.com had an article on Thursday June 8 that said it would be visible on the nights of the 8th and 9th. On the 9th I drove to a clear sky and aimed the scope at it. I'm pretty sure I saw it. It formed an equilateral triangle with Mizar/Alcor and Alkaid. There was a hazy overcast, the Moon was nearly full, and it was getting close to the horizon, but it was still easy to see with a 6" mirror. Next time I have a good sky I'll look again, expecting to find nothing. That's how I'll verify I actually saw it, rather than a field star.
     
  14. Sep 17, 2011 #13

    DaveC426913

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    What mag were you at? I was at about 27x and I had to star hop from Mizar to reach it. Maybe I need one more lower power eyepiece...
     
  15. Sep 17, 2011 #14
    I usually view M101 at 25x power, and I also star hop to it. You would need a very large AFOV eyepiece to get that entire system into your FOV.
     
  16. Sep 17, 2011 #15

    tony873004

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    I never computed the mag, but it was zoomier than I had hoped for. I'm going to guess that the telescope was 1000mm and the eyepiece about 20mm for a mag of about 50x. Jupiter and its moon system filled the FOV. We accidently left the wider angle eyepieces at home, making star hopping a real chore. We also star hopped from Mizar. A laser pointer attached to the telescope was a big help confirming we were aimed at M101. There was too much high haze and moonlight to actually see the galaxy (assuming the SN didn't overwhelm it). I want to star hop that area again while the patterns are still burned into my memory. If it was the SN I saw, then under a dark sky all that should be left is a faint galaxy.
     
  17. Sep 18, 2011 #16
    Site with video, start charts and links to light curve data http://www.eyesonthesky.com/supernova/m101-2011.html" [Broken]

    Presently it is still slightly below magnitude 10, though it will likely fade to 11th magnitude by (I'm guessing based on the light curve data) around the 22nd or so...? Even so, 11th magnitude is visible in a 6 inch scope from most areas, plus you'll have the benefit of less moonlight interference over the next week.

    I know some amateurs in Chicago were able to pick it out under their very light polluted conditions with average-sized scope within the last week. I was at an outreach event last night and could see it through my 5" scope without too much difficulty. Faint, yes, but definitely there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  18. Sep 19, 2011 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Bah. I'm definitely messing up. Even in country-dark skies last night, I could even spot the galaxy, never mind the supernova.
     
  19. Sep 19, 2011 #18
    Dave, the supernova is definitely easier to spot than the galaxy itself. M101 is notoriously difficult to find. It is fairly large and has low surface brightness. The supernova is a point of light though - much easier to spot.

    The supernova is still close to magnitude 10 though. That's technically within grasp of a 60mm scope, and definitely still visible in a 4". From my moderately light polluted location, I've seen it - barely - with a 4" Astroscan. It's easier with a 5", and very obvious in a 10" reflector. I should think under dark skies it would be quite visible with a 6" scope, and still something that can be spotted with a 6" under light pollution. When you are in what you believe is the right location, trying bumping up the magnification to darken the sky background. And yes, collimated optics will certainly help. :smile:

    The key is simply knowing which faint star it is among the other faint stars in the area. I've got charts on my site that go along with the video, to help identify which "point" of light it is. Just be sure to mentally reverse the charts, because a reflector will not only reverse the view left/right, but up/down as well. The charts are printed with "normal" orientation. Use the "parallelogram" set of stars to point you towards the supernova.

    Don't try to find the galaxy first, then the supernova. It's actually easier the other way around - supernova first, then M101 - and even then, the galaxy is likely only going to be spotted (barely!) using averted vision techniques (and perhaps not at all if the light pollution around you is bad).
     
  20. Sep 19, 2011 #19

    DaveC426913

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    Oh!


    I'll do that, thanks. Please point me at your site.
     
  21. Sep 19, 2011 #20
    I went out last night with my 4.5" scope with little to no light pollution and I couldn't definitively pick the supernova apart, but I knew I was looking in the right spot so most likely it is just undistinguished amongst the nearby stars.
     
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