Supernova in M101 imaged by Jimmy Westlake

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, August 30, 2011

As I first described on Friday, a supernova discovered August 24 in the nearby galaxy M101 in Ursa Major is the nearest type Ia supernova astronomers have found since 1972. The brightness of this exploding star is on the rise, and it could be visible in binoculars within a week or so.

Credit: Jimmy Westlake
Yesterday, Jimmy Westlake, a professor of astronomy at Colorado Mountain College in Alpine (and a longtime astroimager), sent these “before and after” images of the supernova, which now hovers around 13th magnitude. Jimmy’s latest image with the supernova was taken Saturday, August 27, and both were made with a Celestron 11-inch SCT and a Nikon D700 camera, from Stagecoach, Colorado.

Let us know at Astronomy about your observations of the M101 supernova over the coming days and please send us any photos you take— we’ll be publishing them online and sharing them with the largest audience of amateur astronomers on the planet.

You can send images and observations to and to our photo editor Michael Bakich at Thank you, and enjoy!

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