Supernova Success, 2/22/14

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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.

http://www.damianpeach.com/deepsky/m82_2014_02_19dp.jpg (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.  

http://astrobob.areavoices.com/tag/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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