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Intergalactic Supernovae

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#1 JoeR



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Posted 11 July 2020 - 11:08 AM

Whether with an eyepiece or a camera, observing intergalactic supernovae connects you to the awesome power of creation from destruction. When we observe a supernova we are witnessing the final moment in the life story of massive star and a cataclysmic event beyond all human experience- one that makes its fury known across half the Universe. Yet, we are also seeing the unmistakable hints of our own origins. Life as we know it could not exist without the elements forged in the nuclear furnace of a high mass star long ago. That star ripped itself to shreds in a violent death so it could deliver the building blocks of life when our solar system was born.

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#2 N2TU


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Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:51 PM

Thank you..... great article!......

#3 piaras



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Posted 13 July 2020 - 06:01 PM

A great read! Lots of information that was glossed over during my school years.

#4 XB-36


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Posted 14 July 2020 - 12:53 AM

I liked the into and the explanation of the supernova types.

I also enjoyed looking at the photo of M51.

#5 Andrew Brown

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 04:59 AM

Great article, thanks for pointing it out.

#6 iclaudius


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Posted 15 July 2020 - 01:58 AM

I learned a lot. Thanks!

#7 hwb3


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Posted 17 July 2020 - 06:31 PM

Canes Vevatici?


Very thorough article.

#8 Waldemar


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Posted 18 July 2020 - 02:10 AM

Thank you! Very educating...

#9 StanH


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Posted 18 July 2020 - 11:47 PM

This is a good refresher article for someone active in a supernova search as well as a primer on supernovae for a beginner.  Wish I had the skills and equipment to take photos as fantastic as those you've taken.


A couple of items. 


1.  Potential supernova discoveries are to be reported to the Transient Name Server (TNS) The Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams only handles transients such as novae and CVs through their TOCP page even though they have not removed supernovae from the list on their page and a few people still submit supernovae there.  http://www.cbat.eps.harvard.edu/unconf/tocp.html


2.  Not all Type Ia supernovae have similar maximum absolute brightness.  Only the standard ones do.  Some are super-Chandrasekhar and can be brighter by a half magnitude or more.  There are several varieties of sub-luminous Type Ia that can be up to two magnitudes fainter than the standard Type Ia.


Additionally, with all the imaging, it is very difficult for someone to make a visual discovery though if someone had been looking they could have discovered SN 2020nvb in NGC 4467 as it was not found on images until it was already about magnitude 13.0.  It would be curious to research and see when the last visual discovery was made. I would guess it has probably been ten years or more.  It may be that Bob Evans was the last to do so.  If there has been someone since Bob Evans, most likely it was someone from the southern hemisphere such as he as it took longer for the massive searches to take hold there.

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#10 Astrodaddio


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Posted 26 July 2020 - 02:03 AM

Funny story... I am very new and was attempting to photograph M81 tonight.  After I started to get the ISO and shutter dialed in I noticed a cigar like colorful entity in the frame which I thought was a galaxy side view.  After seeing the pic of M82 above, now I know.  They are very close together.  Funny thing is, I just randomly started reading the article because of the cool intro.  Great article.

#11 caussade


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Posted 29 July 2020 - 03:27 PM

Joe, this is a great article and your images are amazing. You have a talent for communicating elaborate scientific ideas in everyday language.  I appreciate your contributions to Cloudy Nights, and I look forward to future articles.  Thanks, and may you enjoy clear skies!  --Armando Caussade

#12 emgeesea


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Posted 31 July 2020 - 04:39 PM

A very good read, thanks. On question (probably silly): You talk about "catching" a supernova as it happens, and that the duration is usually weeks to months, but of course due to their distance we are still seeing what has occurred in the very distant past, correct? These are certainly not current events!?

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