How to See a Supernova From Your Backyard This Weekend

by Nancy Atkinson on September 2, 2011

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

The timing couldn’t be better. A new supernova, named PTF11kly, which was discovered on August. 24, 2011 is continuing to brighten and should be visible to backyard astronomers this weekend using just a pair of binoculars. It’s not quite naked-eye material but this is an exciting opportunity for amateurs (as well as the pros!) to view a supernova first-hand. Of course, if your backyard is full of light, the best option is to go to an area with darker skies, and you’ll be able to see it much better. Astronomers say PTF11kly will likely continue to shine for some time, and be at its brightest on about Sept. 9, 2011.

In this video Peter Nugent, an astrophysicist from Lawrence Berkeley National Labs explains just how to find this star that exploded about 21 million light years away.

About 

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

Michaela Knott September 2, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Heading down to the OBSY tonight! Here’s hoping for clear skies!

Anonymous September 2, 2011 at 7:01 PM

I really hope to find some dark skies to see this supernova. I’ve never seen one through a telescope (or binos) so this looks to be a choice opportunity. Sky Telescope, which has a selection of finder charts for the M 101 supernova, is reporting a visual magnitude of +10.8 and *rising* as of Sep 1st: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/skyblog/observingblog/128430288.html

Anonymous September 6, 2011 at 4:38 AM

I finally found and excuse to buy some new binoculars…

Anonymous September 6, 2011 at 4:38 AM

I finally found and excuse to buy some new binoculars…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: