Categories: Astrophotossupernova

Astrophotographers Rush to Capture Images of New Supernova 2014J

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

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Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

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