M82, a relatively close galaxy, also known as the cigar galaxy has had a supernova eruption! This has the potential to be the brightest supernova for over a hundred years and has a lot of people in the astronomy community very excited…… Although it might look like just another star in the image, all the other stars visible are in the milky way galaxy, the supernova is a single star in another galaxy 11.4 million light years away
There are certain ‘types’ of supernova and this is a type 1a supernova meaning it is or rather was! a white dwarf star orbiting round a red giant, the immense gravity of the white dwarf, pulls matter from the red giant star and eventually has enough to reignite itself which causes the supernova explosion. As you can see in the image below (Which is not one of my best, it was blowing a gale and I only got an hour on target before it clouded over), the supernova is easily spotted and the star will briefly be the brightest thing in the galaxy, giving out more light in its brief 3 weeks or so than over its full lifetime!
The other galaxy in this image is M81 by the way, I do intend on getting more time on these objects as its nice to have the 2 different galaxy types in the same image.
Well, this aint good! It is only 7 subs of 15mins each and judging by how faint the signal is I think I need at least 3 times the amount of data….. Still, an image is an image! Due to the lack of signal and subs I have not pushed things too far, did a bot of star reduction and noise reduction but thats about it. The scope was a William Optics 70mm with a TeleVue flattener on it – this works a lot better than the William Optics FF Mk2 that I own (The TV is borrowed from a fellow amateur). If you look back through this blog you will find another image of this target taken a couple of years ago with a Skywatcher Ed80, this gives a closer in view of the nebula but alas it is also lacking in data – Need to make a note to go back and do this ‘properly’ next time!!!
So, the Jellyfish nebula – as can be seen this is a huge mass of glowing hydrogen gas, it’s a supernove remnant in Gemini roughly 5,000 light years from us. Estimates vary between 3,00 and 30,000 years for the date of the supernova.
A couple of weeks ago a new supernova was discovered in a nearby? (38 million light years distant!) galaxy – M95. As these are only about for a couple of weeks I was determind to capture an image of it! Supernova are stars that have reached the end of life and explode – these are massive events, the exploded star literally outshines the entire galaxy they are in! What will be left is a small planertry nebula like the images I have on here of M57, M1 etc
For some reason my CCD is playing up and I had to bin loads of these 10min subs due to noise. I suspect it may be due to a dodgy power supply that I switched back to using and have since went over to a leisure battery and dark frames are now noise free so fingers crossed for the next night out, although up here in Scotland the nights are now getting very short! This is composed of 15x10min subs, and a LOT of noise reduction, I had wanted to process this in Pixinsight but I could not get the screen stretch to give anything other than noise and I am not yet experienced enough with it, so I dropped back to Photoshop for this process…