Supernova in M101 imaged by Kevin Boucher

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, August 31, 2011

As first I described on Friday that a supernova discovered on Wednesday, 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: Kevin Boucher
On Monday evening, August 29, Kevin Boucher of the Aldrich Astronomical Society Imaging Group in Massachusetts shot this fine portrait of M101 and its supernova. “There wasn’t a lot of time to capture data for good color,” writes Kevin, “before the target was too low on the horizon at my location in Gardner, Massachusetts.” The image does show a brightening of the supernova compared with previous images. Boucher used a Meade LX90, an SBIG ST-8300M CCD camera, and LRGB exposures of 35, 10, 15, and 15 minutes.

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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