2017 May 17
Bright supernova in NGC 6946
As reported by Robin Leadbeater on the BAA Forum on Sunday, a new mag 12.8 supernova was discovered by Patrick Wiggins, Tooele, UT, USA, on an unfiltered CCD frame taken 2017 May 14.2383 UT using a 0.35-m f/5.5 reflector near Erda, UT, USA. The supernova was designated AT 2017eaw and is in NGC 6946.
NGC 6946 is a beautiful spiral galaxy, also known as the Fireworks Galaxy. Ten supernovae have been observed in NGC 6946 in the last 100 years, including the present one.
Many BAA members imaged the galaxy either with their own telescopes, or remotely. The one shown here is by Tim Haymes, do have a look at BAA Members Pages for further images. Andrew Robertson also observed the supernova visually with his 30 cm Dobsonian from Norfolk.
This is a relatively bright supernova, so do take the opportunity to observe it. Post your results to your BAA Members Page. If you are able to carry out photometry (visual or CCD) then this supernova is a fantastic opportunity to create your own lightcurve and to submit observations to the Variable Star Section.
To get an accurate measurement you will need carefully selected comparison stars with reliable magnitudes. The magnitudes in planetarium software can often be out by up to half a magnitude, or you might choose a variable star. This is not a problem as the AAVSO already have a chart for this supernova with accurate magnitudes. Just type in SN 2017eaw and select your chart options.
If you are able to make a good visual estimate, or use a CCD or DSLR with photometry software (e.g. Muniwin or AIP4Win) then your observations will be welcome to the Variable Star Section Database.
You will need to email Andrew Wilson, or VSS Database manager, at the address on the database website to receive a special login to submit your observations online.