Was yesterday one of those days when you felt a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced? Well it wasn’t just a feeling. As it turns out, a super nova was detected in the Cigar Galaxy yesterday. Super Novas are the largest explosions in the Universe and this one could be seen from over 11.5 million light years away! Don’t worry about all those souls that were vaporized in this cosmic eruption. It happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.
You can see the super nova in this image from this morning. Its the bright star near the bottom center of the galaxy just below the red gas outbursts.
For reference, check out this image of M82 I took last spring. Clearly, that star was not there then. From what I have read, the Nova is expected to brighten over the next two weeks.
Here’s a single frame of the galaxy taken through a clear filter for future reference.
This was a relatively quick exposure of just 40 minutes X red, green and blue and 60 minutes of Luminance. I blended in a few hours of luminance data from last year to help sharpen the details in the galaxy.
Image Details for Super Nova in Cigar Galaxy
RGB: 40 minutes each
Luminance: 1 hour + 4 hours of old data
Total exposure: 3.5 hours
Camera: Apogee U16M
Guider: SBIG 402 with MMOAG Off Axis Guider
Telescope: RCOS 14.5
Mount: Paramount ME
Location: Auberry, CA
Date: January 23rd, 2014
Software: The SkyX, MaximDL, FocusMax, CCDAutoPilot, CCDStack, Photoshop