A brace of bright supernovae

Two ‘bright’ supernovae in nearby galaxies are well within the range of most amateur astronomers telescopes.

Supernova Candidate PSN J10435372+1140177 in M95 – now designated 2012aw

Supernova 2012aw imaged by Nick James on March 18th

This supernova was discovered on 2012 March 16.8493 by J. Skvarc & Alessandro Dimai of the Italian Supernovae Search Project.

M95 is at R.A. = 10h43m53s.72, Decl. = +11°40′17″.7 (= NGC 3351) and the SN is located 60″ west and 115″ south of the center of M95. M95 is well placed for observation, transiting at around 23:00 UT, with the galaxy culminating at about 50° altitude.  M95 is part of the Leo I group of galaxies, about 38 million light years distant.

A discovery image can be found here:

Nick James observation of this object (above) puts it at about magnitude 13 and adds that unfortunately Mars is very close and has caused significant interference with the image.  However, Mars will continue to move further away as time progresses.

And here is an image by Martin Mobberley, the following night:


Supernova 2012aw imaged by Martin Mobberley on March 19th


SN 2012au in NGC 4790 in Virgo

Discovered by the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey and Stan Howerton (USA) at mag 18.2C on 2012 March 14.450 but it has rapidly brightened and is currently at magnitude 13.25V.   This SN is of Type Ib, and apparently found in the early stages of its evolution so it may well brighten further.

However, it is vary close to the core of the host galaxy, but is the brightest supernova so far this year. Recent images etc can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/watchingthesky/6846911246

NGC 4790 is at R.A. = 12h54m52s.18, Decl. = -10°14′50″.2 and the SN is located 3″.5 east and 2″.0 north of the center of NGC 4790. NGC 4790 is not very far from Saturn, but currently culminates at about 27° altitude at around 01:00 UT.

Further information on these and other supernovae can be found on the extensive web page of the International Supernova Network and the Astronomy Section of the Rochester Academy of Sciences at:

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