Astrophotographers Rush to Capture Images of New Supernova 2014J

by Nancy Atkinson on January 23, 2014

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The new supernova in M82 captured by the 32-inch Schulman Telescope (RCOS) at the Mount Lemmon Sky Center in Arizona on January 23, 2014. Credit and copyright: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

The new supernova in M82 captured by the 32-inch Schulman Telescope (RCOS) at the Mount Lemmon Sky Center in Arizona on January 23, 2014. Credit and copyright: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona

With news yesterday of the closest confirmed type Ia supernova since the 1800′s, astronomers in the northern hemisphere risked frostbite and hoped for clear skies to try and capture images of the newly named supernova, 2014J.

Others quickly sorted through images taken of the galaxy M82 taken within the last week to see if they managed to capture it unknowingly! Currently at about +11.5 magnitude, you’ll need at least a 4-inch and larger telescope to see SN2014J. But it is not hard to see in these great images here, as the object is the only bright star shining in the galaxy. Of course, not all of us have access to equipment like the 32-inch telescope at the Mount Lemmon Sky Center, but Adam Block stayed up for most of the night and managed to capture this spectacular image of M82 and the supernova.

See below for more:

An image of M82 taken on January 19, 2014, before the official announcement of the discovery of the supernova. SN2014J is clearly visible. Credit and copyright: Sarah Hall & Colin Campbell.

An image of M82 taken on January 19, 2014, before the official announcement of the discovery of the supernova. SN2014J is clearly visible. Credit and copyright: Sarah Hall & Colin Campbell.

This is one example of astronomers looking back at recent images to see if they captured the supernova without knowing it. This one by Sarah Hall and Colin Campbell was taken on January 19, 2014 between 20:39 to 20:44 UTC with a Newtonian Telescope with prime focus DSLR observation, 8 inch aperture 1000mm focal length (f/5).

The buzz on Twitter has been that the supernova was so bright, that automated supernova search telescopes and programs missed it because it was too bright and they dismissed it as an anomaly.

One of the latest Astronomer Telegrams puts the star going supernova no earlier than January 11 and sometime prior to January 19, but they haven’t narrowed it down any further yet. I’m sure more images will surface to help pinpoint the time.

In the meantime, enjoy these other great shots:

‘before and after’ animation of SN2014J, with the before taken in April 2013 and the after taken on January 22, 2014. Credit and copyright: Gianluca Masi, Virtual Telescope Project.

A view taken on January 22, 2014 of supernova 2014J in Messier 82 (M82) located in the constellation Ursa Major. Credit and copyright: Tom Wildoner.

A view taken on January 22, 2014 of supernova 2014J in Messier 82 (M82) located in the constellation Ursa Major. Credit and copyright: Tom Wildoner.

Supernova in M82 The Cigar Galaxy on January 23rd 06:23 UTC, comparing to an image taken in April 2013. Credit and copyright: Efrain Morales/Jaicoa Observatory.

Supernova in M82 The Cigar Galaxy on January 23rd 06:23 UTC, comparing to an image taken in April 2013. Credit and copyright: Efrain Morales/Jaicoa Observatory.

M82 showing the Type la supernova on January 23, 2014. A 45 minute exposure  with SXVR-H9C + C9. Credit and copyright: David G. Strange.

M82 showing the Type la supernova on January 23, 2014. A 45 minute exposure with SXVR-H9C + C9. Credit and copyright: David G. Strange.

Comparison images of M82 on January 4 and January 23, 2014. Credit and copyright: Scott MacNeill, Frosty Drew Observatory.

Comparison images of M82 on January 4 and January 23, 2014. Credit and copyright: Scott MacNeill, Frosty Drew Observatory.

Comparison images of M82 The image on the left was taken on December 24th, 2013. The image on the right was taken on January 20th, 2014. Credit and copyright: Stephen Rahn.

Comparison images of M82 The image on the left was taken on December 24th, 2013. The image on the right was taken on January 20th, 2014. Credit and copyright: Stephen Rahn.

M82 with SN2014J, taken on January 22, 2014 from Rosebank Observatory, Torquay, UK. Credit and copyright: Paul M. Hutchinson.

M82 with SN2014J, taken on January 22, 2014 from Rosebank Observatory, Torquay, UK. Credit and copyright: Paul M. Hutchinson.

Supernova in M82 taken Jan 22, 2014  with Canon 60D, EF 75-300mm zoom lens at 300mm and f/5.6, ISO5000 for 30 seconds on an iOptron Skytracker.  Credit and copyright: Robert Sparks.

Supernova in M82 taken Jan 22, 2014 with Canon 60D, EF 75-300mm zoom lens at 300mm and f/5.6, ISO5000 for 30 seconds on an iOptron Skytracker. Credit and copyright: Robert Sparks.

Image of SN2014J in M82 taken on January 23, 2014 from Hampshire, UK. Credit and copyright: Daniel Robb.

Image of SN2014J in M82 taken on January 23, 2014 from Hampshire, UK. Credit and copyright: Daniel Robb.

Image of the new supernova in M82, taken on January 22, 2014. Credit and copyright: Larry McNish, Calgary Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Image of the new supernova in M82, taken on January 22, 2014. Credit and copyright: Larry McNish, Calgary Centre of the
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

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About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Rob Sparks January 23, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Well, to be fair, I wasn’t exactly risking frostbite, but I did feel a light sweater was in order last night (Arizona brag).

NancyAtkinson January 23, 2014 at 4:18 PM

I’m having visions of Mr. Rogers, Rob!

Stu Griff January 23, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Using a clock reference and Jupiter as a central starting point where in the sky is the super nova ?

Andrew4549 January 26, 2014 at 3:33 PM

With Jupiter as the center of the clock, you’ll head towards 7:30 for 53°. If you don’t have a star map that identifies the position of M82 in Ursa Major, a better indicator would be to start at the star Phecda in the Big Dipper (that’s the star in the bowl of the Big Dipper that’s the closest to the horizon at 6:00 tonight, Jan. 26), draw a line through Dubhe (the northernmost star in the bowl) and continue an equal distance to take you to M82. Last night’s magnitude estimate was 10.5–with hopes that it will continue to brighten to about 8.0 in the next few days (unbelievably bright for a supernova!) Here’s a nice map that will help guide you… http://d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/M82-SN-tight_edited-1.jpg

Guest January 23, 2014 at 5:46 PM

SN 2014j by Roberto Bacci from Italy
http://b09-backman.blogspot.it/2014/01/m82-sn-2014j.html

Guest January 23, 2014 at 5:47 PM
backman January 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

SN 2014j by Roberto Bacci from Italy
http://b09-backman.blogspot.it/2014/01/m82-sn-2014j.html

Emil Carstens January 24, 2014 at 4:11 PM

awesome stuff hope to see further reports

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