Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking for the supernova

I went outside to have another look for the recent supernova in the Pinwheel Galaxy yesterday, as the viewing conditions were still quite good. And also because the supernova is starting to dim again.

In order to not disappoint you completely, I'll begin with an amazing picture of the galaxy and supernova.

Picture from Rose City Astronomers

New instructions
Having failed to follow the instructions from 'Starts with a bang' I decided to try to follow the instructions at Sky & Telescope on their 'This Week's Sky at a Glance' page.
Because that page is updated every week, I'll repost the instructions here.
To identify which tiny speck is the supernova, use the comparison-star charts that you can generate courtesy of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. Enter the star name SN 2011fe, and choose the "predefined chart scales" A, B, and C. Print out all three. The two brightest stars on the "A" chart are the last two stars in the the Big Dipper's handle.
I did just that and followed the instructions. I managed to find the place where the galaxy is supposed to be and took a couple of pictures through the telescope.

The pictures
Unfortunately the only camera I have, which fits on the camera mount, is not that light sensitive I feared that nothing would be clearly visible and I wouldn't be able to see the stars.
It turned out to be quite the opposite. I've spent 2 hours looking at the pictures and I've decided to give up; I have no idea were the supernova is supposed to be in the pictures.
I'm not 100% sure that the pictures are of the correct small patch of sky but almost. So if you are feeling lucky or you are extremely familiar with the stars around the Pinwheel Galaxy go right ahead :-)

The pictures will appear to be almost completely dark unless you click the images to see the large full size pictures.

I've cleaned up the noise on the images a bit and converted them to black/white.
Up in the images is towards Zenith and I'm at around 56° 00 N, 10 º 00 E.