M51 Hubble Remix

Supernova Discovered in M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

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A new supernova (exploding star) has been discovered in the famous Whirlpool Galaxy, M51.

M51, The Whirlpool galaxy is a galaxy found in the constellation of Canes Venatici, very near the star Alkaid in the handle of the saucepan asterism of the big dipper. Easily found with binoculars or a small telescope.

The discovery was made on June 2nd by French astronomers and the supernova is reported to be around magnitude 14. More information (In French) can be found here or translated version here.

Image by BBC Sky at Night Presenter Pete Lawrence

The supernova will be quite tricky to spot visually and you may need a good sized dobsonian or similar telescope to spot it, but it will be a easy target for those interested in astro imaging.

The whirlpool galaxy was the first galaxy discovered with a spiral structure and is one of the most recognisable and famous objects in the sky.

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evanoc
Member
evanoc
June 3, 2011 9:52 PM

and possibly a progenitor star (18-24 solar masses!)

http://www.astronomerstelegram.org/?read=3401

Ken Lord
Guest
June 4, 2011 2:03 AM

Clear skies in Vancouver! Seems like it’s been months … I’m going to try and capture this tonight with one of my crude but fun unguided stacks of 30 second exposures.

Jon Hanford
Guest
Jon Hanford
June 4, 2011 2:46 PM

See avishay’s post below on where to submit images. Good luck!

Jeff Gortatowsky
Guest
Jeff Gortatowsky
June 4, 2011 6:59 PM

Awesome work Ken!!

Scott Weberpal
Guest
Scott Weberpal
June 4, 2011 2:48 AM

Aw heck, I imaged the supernova on May 31 but didn’t notice it until after I saw this article. Does that count? smile

JOSE C. BORRERO
Guest
JOSE C. BORRERO
June 4, 2011 3:35 AM

I got it May 31 at 8:54UT on a Takahashi FS 102.

Jon Hanford
Guest
Jon Hanford
June 4, 2011 2:43 PM

Ditto. See avishay’s post below.

JOSE C. BORRERO
Guest
JOSE C. BORRERO
June 4, 2011 3:35 AM

I got it May 31 at 8:54UT on a Takahashi FS 102.

Jon Hanford
Guest
Jon Hanford
June 4, 2011 2:42 PM

Sounds like you were just in time. See avishay’s post below.

Kahn
Guest
Kahn
June 4, 2011 4:10 PM

Unfortunately, no. Lots of discoveries are verified by looking at old images, often the images on glass plates that were taken decades ago. Amateurs also make discoveries while examining images and data from Hubble and other sources well after the images were captured. Discoveries are credited to those who realize they’ve discovered something, figure out what it is, and then make it known.

Jon Hanford
Guest
Jon Hanford
June 4, 2011 5:54 PM
I would add to Kahn’s post that even if you’re not the first (or second, third…etc.) to discover a particular supernova, having good, documented images of the SN in the days following the outburst can be very important to astronomers studying the light curve of the event. Even images taken in the hours before the SN event is reported, where no light from the SN is yet visible in your images, can give astronomers an upper limit to the brightness of the event at that time (during the ultra-brief rise time to maximum light). So it makes sense to carefully examine all images of a galaxy with a reported supernova taken before AND after the SN reaches maximum… Read more »
Ivan3man_At_Large
Member
Ivan3man_At_Large
June 4, 2011 3:21 AM

At the fourth paragraph, it should be the indefinite article an, not “a”, in the second line: “…, but it will be a easy target…”

DrFlimmer
Member
DrFlimmer
June 5, 2011 10:27 AM

How did I miss these type of comments of yours grin

Paul Hannah
Guest
June 6, 2011 8:10 AM

We get this from a guy who puts numbers in his nick?

Daniel Cloud
Guest
Daniel Cloud
June 4, 2011 5:09 AM

Seeing how some have reported this event taking place right around June 1st I for one will remember it as Norma Jeane Baker’s Nova in remembrance of Marilyn Monroe.

John Dough
Guest
John Dough
June 4, 2011 5:30 AM

I have images that show it happened on May 31, 2011/

Jon Hanford
Guest
Jon Hanford
June 4, 2011 2:47 PM

See avishay’s post below.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
June 4, 2011 8:56 AM
This is a very exciting scientific discovery, to which amateurs can further significantly contribute! We at the Palomar Transient Factory seek more image data of M51 obtained between May 30 and June 2, 2011. So, if you have imaged this galaxy using a telescope and a digital camera, your data may be very useful to this project! Helpful data would be: * only if it is of M51 between May 30 and June 2 * only if it is has an accurate time stamp. In case such data exists, please send the raw images, specify the filter(s) used and if possible send images of the same field taken with the same instrument and telescope before May 30, all… Read more »
minggnim
Guest
minggnim
June 4, 2011 12:15 PM

I don’t see it.

Mohammad Rahimi
Guest
Mohammad Rahimi
June 5, 2011 2:41 PM

Hi
I take this Nova in 3/6/2001 in M51 . share in facebook.

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