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New Supernova in M51


Stephen
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Gutted.

Reasonable seeing on my second night (ever) of viewing, but as I have a big weekend coming up, I packed up and came in at 12:45am, only to see this thread.:)

Oh, well; I don't suppose it will disappear any time soon....

Russell

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Because I'm a bit dim, how long is a super nova generally visible for? will it last a day or two? or longer? Apologies if this is a daft question

Most never reach visibility in the sort of scopes that we have to be honest (other than for imagers perhaps).

Those that do seem to vary in how long they "peak" for from a couple of days to a week or so I think.

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I guess we can all but hope for tonight. I never thought I would miss the cold nights of the winter so much...

I read recently that a supernova can be 100 Billion times brighter than our sun. Anyway of knowing if this is the case for this one?

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These SN get brighter and fade over about two to three weeks so do not give up hope yet.

The brightness depends on distance and as M51 is close in galaxy terms I suspect this SN will get brighter..or at least thats what I am hoping!

Mag 13.5 is only possible in my 10 inch when the skies are truly dark..a bit of a problem this time of year north of 50 deg North!

Mark

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Oh well, if it had happened any other time of the year it might have been possible with the 8" in my skies, mag 13.5 is as low as I can go on the darkest and clearest nights here. I am not sure if it was just me but when I was attempting to view this at around 1 am Saturday morning, I could barely even make out M51 in the eyepiece and when I did it was very indistinct. It must be the not so dark background and the drifting high cloud we had.

I had a good view of the dumbbell neb with a UHC filter which probably helped with contrast, shame there isn't a light sky filter for summer nights. Oh wait there is... It's called an overwhelmingly huge dob, like what all the peeps over on CN are saying they saw the SN visually through these past 2 nights!

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We went for this on the 4th. Observing from our dark site with reasonably transparent skies. The 10" dob was showing the spiral arms and we could detect a very faint star in the arms at the right spot. But you had to use averted vision to see it and it appeared to come and go (perhaps with the seeing). Shaun declared it the most boring object ever but if it was the SN, then at least we can tick it off the 'to do' list.

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Russ

How did the SN compare to the mag 13.6 field star that is in the halo.

Did you see two faint stars in the Halo as the SN should be about the same mag..

The mag 13.6 field star is on the opposite side of M51 to NGC 5195 slightly ofset wheras the SN is at 90 degrees to a line from NGC 5195 to M51.

What we need is DOC to use his 16 inch and prepare one of his stunning pencil drawings!

Mark

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It's interesting that this is the third supernova in M51 in 17 years, whereas the last one in our own galaxy is believed to have happened 400 years ago. Roll on, Betelgeuse.

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I know the weather has been poor of recent in the UK, certainly since the Supernova on the 30th May, has anyone on here take a decent quality image of it yet ? , would be nice to see :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I tried again with a 6" scope again last night but still no chance (even with a dark blanket over my head and staring at 'the ghost of M51' in the eyepiece for a good while. I think if you have reasonable skies it is doable with a 6" but really an 8" will bee best. Your 10" should be able to see it, potentially, even under your skies if you can get the right location (I suspect you may struggle to see M51 where you are?

At a dark site it should be no problem to a 10" newt.

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although it seems logical, no. the fact that the starlight has to travel another few inches makes no difference to the light/ number of photons gathered. ignoring optical quality and magnification effects that can all affect image brightness by letting less of the light through or 'selecting' a small area of the light beam, only aperture controls light gathering capacity.

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I've seen this one a few times with my 10" F/4.8 newtonian now. I did just manage it with a 6" scope but it was quite a struggle and required averted vision. You need to consult the finder charts and photos carefully because there are a couple of foreground stars that are similar in brightness to the SN and in the same general vicinity - you want to be sure you are looking at the right faint pinpoint of light !.

Edited by John
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trust me it is important f ratio

i had some "wild" f/3.8 newton 200mm and I saw m51 under light pollution but with f/6.3 it is hard to see, especially some nebulas -m97.

anyway compare two telescopes and you will see the difference

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cheers kruska. I have a neighbour with a 6" f5 and we can hopefully compare notes with my 6" f11. I can easily see M51 but not the supernova at the moment. light pollution and neighbours' lights don't help with this though of course.

my logic is that the slower focal ratio in my 6" f11 (at the same magnification) should give more contrast in an object (but the same brightness) than a 6" f5? therefore if anything I would suspect a longer focal length and smaller secondary should improve the chances of seeing fainter objects not reduce them?

I'll do the comparison though as it's interesting.

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I've viewed M51 with a 6" F/8 scope and a 6" F/5.9. It's brightness appeared the same with both scopes. I'm with Shane on this one - I believe it's aperture alone that determines light capture rather than focal ratio.

It could have been other factors, such as vignetting, that caused your SCT to be show M51 less well than an equal aperture fast newtonian.

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