Hot news! Bright supernova discovered in M95

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The well-known galaxy M95 (NGC 3351) in Leo, currently visible in the evening sky, now hosts a bright supernova. Italian astronomer Paolo Fagotti discovered the exploding star on images he took Saturday, March 17, with a 0.5-m reflector at Porziano d’Assisi, Italy. The star lies at 10h43m54s, 11°40'18" (equinox 2000), and was reported as faint at discovery, near 19th magnitude, but rose quickly to magnitude 13.3 by today, as reported by Gianluca Masi, who created and operates the Virtual Telescope Project.

Gianluca Masi, the Virtual Telescope Project
Alessandro Dimai, Luigi Fiorentino, and other observers independently discovered the supernova in the course of the Italian Supernova Search Project. Another independent discovery came from Jure Skvarc in Slovenia.

 

Here is Gianluca’s fantastic image of the supernova, captured last night and showing the supernova with tic marks well away from the galaxy’s center.

Undoubtedly, many astronomers will be following the behavior and magnitude of the exploding star, and I encourage you to get out and see it — it’s a treat to have a bright supernova in a bright, well-observed galaxy.

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