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.
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
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
I went after SN2012aw three hours ago and it is now up to mag 13.32 +/- 0.004. Here is my result based on 15x03min subs and using a Lum filter: www.perseus.gr/Astro-DSO-Supernovae-SN2012aw-20120320.htm .
Great image, Anthony!
I finally got out to a dark site (East Point, NJ) with my 12.5-inch scope last night around midnight (March 22/23, 2012) for a look at this supernova. M95 was easy to find near Mars, and SN 2012aw was surprisingly easy to see near M95. I had a negative printout of an image off the web for reference, so it was simple to pinpoint the SN. (I say "near M95" because visually, the outer arms of the galaxy do not show as well as they do in long-exposure images.)
Great work everybody.