Supernova Success, 2/22/14

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  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Supernova Success, 2/22/14
Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, February 24, 2014 12:35 PM

I finally had the opportunity to see SN 2014J through a large telescope on Saturday night.  Saturday afternoon's perfectly clear skies gave me the incentive to go to the Naylor Observatory again. Unlike Friday night, when a band of cloudiness appeared out of nowhere and hung in the northern sky the whole time I was there, the skies remained clear long enough for me to view the fading type Ia supernova through the club's 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at 185, 216, 259, 324, and 360x. The best view was at 216x.  I estimated the supernova's brightness at approximately magnitude 11.5. (SN 2014J is to the lower right of the core of M82 in Damien Peach's wonderful 2/19/14 image)   

The conditions weren't the best and steadily deteriorated but, using magnifications of 185 and 216x, I was able to see the supernova more or less steadily with averted vision and occasionally with direct vision, with the scope stopped down to 6 inches. 

Prior to observing the supernova I had a peek at M42 (only 4 of the Trapezium's stars were visible due to mediocre seeing), M43, Alcor-Mizar (to calibrate the Argo Navis), M97, and M81.  Afterwards, I tried to split Sirius with the 6" mask still in place.  Failing that, I used full aperture but the results were the same, with the exception of Sirius being far brighter.  

I then looked at M41, M46 and NGC 2348, and M47.  My final targets were the so-called Mexican Jumping Bean or Tau Canis Majoris Cluster NGC 2362 in Canis Major and the colorful winter binary star h3945.

The skies were growing increasingly more cloudy by then so I closed up the French Dome and departed, satisfied with adding still another supernova to my life list.

Dave Mitsky 

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

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