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SN 2014J Obs<>25 Jan. 2014

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#1 Special Ed

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 12:10 PM

Hi Everyone,

I got a look at the supernova in Messier 82 early this AM under somewhat trying conditions. We had clear skies forecast in front of an incoming snowfall but the reality was high clouds and haze coming and going throughout the session. At times I could only see the two pointer stars of the Big Dipper. I never could see any of the Little Dipper except for Polaris and it would come and go.

On top of that, my scope's alignment is off but because it was so cold (3°F/-16°C) I didn't want to spend the time finding new calibration stars. I thought, well I'll just point the scope manually and use the 9x50 finder scope to locate M81/M82. Not so easy when the transparency keeps tanking. Also, it's hard to point a big CAT without a telrad.

Long story short, after an hour I located M81 in the finderscope during a period of better transparency and easily hopped from there to M82 using my widest field eyepiece (a 2 inch 52mm yielding 75x and an fov of ~48 arcmins).

At this point I was still warm and was warmed even more by the sight of the supernova. I could see it at 75x with direct vision (14 inches of aperture didn't hurt either) and comparing it to a nearby mag 11.2 star (using an AAVSO chart) estimated the SN at ~11.0 magnitude. It didn't look brighter than the 11.2 star but against the background nebulosity of the gx appeared more intense and more of a pinpoint, hence the higher estimate.

I gaped at the SN for 20 or 30 minutes and then cranked up the scope a bit to 98x to make the sketch. By then clear patches were arriving less frequently and staying for a shorter period of time. Because of the transparency issue I was having trouble focusing so I centered that reddish star to the north of M82 that Jason has in his sketch, focused on it, and returned to M82 and the SN. I did not see any color in the SN.

Conditions prevented me from seeing much detail in M82 except for the dark lane but it was enought to see the supernova. It must really be a sight for any denizens of that galaxy or its neighbor.

By now I had been out for 3 hours and was getting cold--also the clouds were getting serious so I battened down the observatory and came in. It started snowing about 3 hours later and still is.

The sketch was done on white paper with 2B and HB pencils, a stump, and kneaded eraser and then inverted. I also flipped it for the correct view and tweaked the levels.

When I was sketching at the eyepiece I was wearing cotton gloves withe silk inserts. I also had a chemical handwarmer for an extra shot of heat. After I came in I fine tuned things a little bit. As I look at it now, the 12th mag stars are a little brighter than they should be. This cold weather sketching is hard--hats off to all who are doing it--but it's worth it to get a look at this new super star. :cool:

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#2 Chopin

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 01:43 PM

Michael, I enjoyed reading your post from front to back. I can feel the sense of frustration with trying to point and find using 4000mm of fl. Perseverance certainly payed off for you. This is a fantastic illustration despite the haze and intermittent cloud cover. I concur completely with your magnitude assessment. Maybe you'll get some better transparency to verify colors. I'm hoping to get the same chance in the next few days.

#3 frank5817

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 03:02 PM

Michael,

A real top notch sketch and report. Just what we always get in your sketching presentations.
Isn't it great to get out to see these spectacular stellar explosions.

You prepare for the cold more sensibly than I do.

Frank :)

#4 kenrenard

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 03:52 PM

Michael,
You worked for this one. Congratulations on getting a view of the supernova. I am hoping to catch it if the weather ever clears.

Ken

#5 Tommy5

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 05:10 PM

Great sketch of this celestial event , perhaps we will learn more supernovas from this, thanks again for posting and stay warm.

#6 Andrev

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 05:23 PM

Really nice sketch.

Andre

#7 Uwe Pilz

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 01:50 AM

Nice again to see an observation. Totally clouded here.

#8 wiruna

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 07:19 AM

Nice sketch, but I think M82 is a bit further than 11.5 ly away! (as stated in your notes)
Geoff

#9 Chopin

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 08:43 AM

Nice sketch, but I think M82 is a bit further than 11.5 ly away! (as stated in your notes)
Geoff


I've done this before...numerous times. I'm guessing Michael forgot the "M". Tell us you just forgot the "M", right Michael?!? ;)

#10 Special Ed

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 09:04 AM

Thanks, everyone! These tough sessions are just that much sweeter when it's all over with and you can feel your fingers again. :grin: And this is not an event to miss if at all possible.

@Frank--my wife doesn't think the word "sensible" should be used to describe anything any of us have been doing out there (except to come back inside). :lol:

The experts are now saying that the SN will peak at an mV of 10.5 on Feb. 2nd. Look here for details.

Nice sketch, but I think M82 is a bit further than 11.5 ly away! (as stated in your notes)
Geoff


Yikes! Left out a few zeros, didn't I? I guess I still hadn't recovered from -16°C when I typed that. :foreheadslap: Fixed now--thanks for pointing it out, Geoff, and Happy Australia Day. :)

#11 frank5817

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 08:44 PM

Michael,

You may remember the supernova in M81 back in the Spring of 1993. That one was a type II but about the same brightness as the one in M82 now. I'd like to see this one(2014J) at about 10th magnitude next week and I know you would too under pristine conditions.

Frank :)

#12 Special Ed

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 10:27 PM

Frank,
I missed the one in 1993 but have seen many references to it since 2014J appeared. The estimate I read of a peak magnitude of 10.5 by Feb. 2nd seems to have been superceded by reality. Dave Mitsky reported in the DSO Observing forum that Rochester Astronomy was reporting a visual mag of 10.0 on their website. It will be easy to compare the SN to that 10th magnitude star to the SW (if the sky is clear). Fingers are crossed. :)

#13 niteskystargazer

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Posted 27 January 2014 - 04:57 PM

Michael,

Nice sketch of SN 2014J on Jan. 25th :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#14 Erik Bakker

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 06:40 PM

Michael,

Tonight I observed the nova in M82 for the first time and under good conditions with my little C5. What a beautiful sight! You sketched it so well, I had a very similar view at 70x. Never thought it would be that easy and beautiful.

#15 Aquarellia

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 12:27 PM

Hello

What a nice and interesting post Michael! Another exciting observation after sun’s spot and prom’s, comets, the nova del, Geminid’s shower… a rich season !
I spend a lot of time during 4 nights looking at this superb Supernova. I made sketches and mag. Estimations.
Our own story is here under, in French, sorry but sketches are so universal…

Thanks a lot Michael to share your observation!

#16 Special Ed

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:33 PM

Thanks, Tom.

Erik, thanks also and glad you got to see this object for yourself.

Michel, thanks also to you. It has been a busy time with lots to see and marvel at, hasn't it? I went to your website to see your drawings of the SN--very nice! I'm impressed that you were able to get so many observations done. Am I correct that your last estimate was 10.9? BTW, great sketch of AR 1967. AR 1944 returns?

#17 Aquarellia

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:41 AM

Hi Michael,
You know, here in Provence we can have a very high number of clear sky, it´s why we are living here ! Time for cloudynights is rare,... Anyway my estimations are only those with the blue cross (DMIB)
my last estimation of the SN was 10.5 made Jan 27.
Yes the sunspot AR1967 is our old fellow AR1944.
Thank you for your return !

#18 Andrev

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:54 AM

I saw the SN tonight. Really beautiful sight.

Andre.

#19 kenrenard

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 06:42 AM

I finally got some clear skies and was able to view the Super Nova. I struggled a bit with the high winds but I saw the brightness very easily. It seems to have increased even more in brightness since your sketch. It seemed very close in magnitude to the star near it. I was very amazed all of the sketches are very accurate. With below zero wind chills and my hands and face freezing I retreated to the warm house.

:coldday:

Ken

#20 Andrev

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:11 AM

I agree Ken, the brightness is very similar to the closest star.

Andre.

#21 Special Ed

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:21 AM

Michel,
Provence sounds like a lovely place. I understand now what your last mag estimate is--sorry my Franch is poor.

Now it's 2 days later and if the SN continues to brighten then it would be closer to the star that Ken and Andre mention, which is mag 10.0--and the one next to it is mag 10.6 so that gives us two good nearby comparison stars.

I went out last,too but we've had such sustained cold that my big CAT wasn't working right. I did look with my 15x70's but only suspected the SN. Temp was 1°F (-17°C). Tha's just not enough degrees, folks.

#22 kenrenard

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 09:30 AM

Glad we are all seeing the same thing. From your sketch Michael it has really increased intensity. I was using my 8 inch dob at about 150X. I could see it at much lower magnifications very easily. The cold and wind is just brutal. I lasted about a half hour but with nothing to shield the wind I had to call it quits. My wife was standing in the kitchen window in amazement why I would go out on such a cold night. When I came in all smiles saying I saw the super nova she understood it was a big deal to me although had no interest in trying to view it in the wind.

It will be interesting to see if it keeps increasing in brightness.

Ken

#23 Special Ed

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 06:22 AM

Ken, we've really had to pay dues to see this SN with the weather so cold for so many of us. I made my second observation on Feb. 2nd with the temperature a balmy 35°F/2°C--it was so much easier to do everything, the scope worked right, etc. I could stand more of that. :)

Eight days after my last observation, the supernova appeared much brighter and had an orangish hue which I did not detect back on Jan 25th. I studied it carefully with magnifications of 98x, 170x, 196x, and 340x comparing it to the 10.6 mag star (second nearby star to the right).

The SN did not appear to be quite as bright as 10.6 but it is hard to compare because the SN is against the background of the galaxy and not the blackness of space. When I use the defocusing trick I use for estimating comet magnitudes, the SN tends to disappear. Also, the SN appears more intense somehow but that might just be my fancy. Reports are that the SN 2014J has peaked.

The galaxy itself appeared mottled and brighter to the east and just west of the dust lane.

The color is exaggerated a bit in the animation but it's the best I could do. I used the same inverted sketch and applied the new observation digitally, then loaded it into gifmaker and voila! Hope you like it. :)

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#24 Chopin

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 09:51 AM

...it is hard to compare because the SN is against the background of the galaxy and not the blackness of space. When I use the defocusing trick I use for estimating comet magnitudes, the SN tends to disappear. Also, the SN appears more intense somehow but that might just be my fancy.



Michael, I agree with your assessment regarding the challenge of determining visual mV because of that galactic b/g. But I also get a sense of intensity that I have concluded must be the warm hue SN against a seemingly cool gray galaxy, something like a contrast illusion. But, I'm picking it up with my eyes, too.

Excellent idea with the animation. I agree that the last time I observed (three days ago, now) I could more readily catch a yellowed tint, not to mention that it was clearly brighter. If I get off my duff I'll convert the notes and rough sketch to a finalized one in the next day or two.

#25 frank5817

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 11:32 AM

Michael,

Wonderful combination of sketches. The color does look yellower to me as well at the eyepiece and after 5 days from my sketch the supernova was brighter as predicted.
Well done.

Frank :)






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