2011

Supernova in M101

After a nice observing session with people from the physics department, some of us stayed late and started to look for a supernova in the Pinwheel galaxy.  The goal was to perform photometry measurements and try to calculate its distance.

We spent some time to try to find it and one found, it was too late for any analysis.  The best image we got was a saturated picture, so it is impossible to extract the data wanted from the image.  Maybe next time!

This is the picture of the supernova.  The image is inverted to show pale details of the galaxy M101 as very dim and fluffy features.

Supernova in M101
Better alignment, better picture

I spent part of the evening polar aligning the mount with extremely good success.  Without software calibration objects are within the field of view of a 14 mm eyepiece.  This can be improved with a calibration!  The nice alignment allowed me to take pictures of 1 min without any star trails.  I could probably go much longer.

Here's an improved version of M57, with 4x60sec exposure, in LRGB.  That's the type of pointing accuracy that we currenly have.  The object falls within 1/4 of the CCD chip size from the centre.

M57 - LRGB

We can start to see details in the nebula.  Much better than my previous attempt.  And this one should not even be ashamed by the Hubble Space Telescope image.  Longer exposure time and an unbinned image (this one was binned 4x4 pixels) should give an even better image.

Another surprise is the moons of Uranus.  At magnitude 5.74, Uranus was saturating the CCD chip within a fraction of a second.  But a 10 sec exposure time started to reveal four of Uranus' Moons.  Here is shown the CCD picture on the right with a simulated view taken from Stellarium.  The apparent magnitude of the four moons range between 14.5 to 15.5.

Uranus and its moons