Re:Help please, with setting UP a super nova search.

Forums General Discussion Help please, with setting UP a super nova search. Re:Help please, with setting UP a super nova search.


Posted by Gary Poyner at 11:28 on 2011 Apr 02

Hi Paul,Usually (?) telescopes and CCD’s are used to search for Novae in M31 & possibly M33. For Novae in our own galaxy, the usual method is to use a DSLR. This gives you much more sky coverage in one shot (possible 10d in an 85mm lens?). Keeping in general to the Galactic Plane, one would take short exposures of the sky (depending on your local light pollution) then blink that image with your master. You will see stars blink, that’s for sure. These will be Variables, so you’ll need something to check these against (something like GUIDE 8 which has excellent VS catalogues). Checking images to a possible limit of magnitude ~10 or 12 isn’t easy, and requires great care. Like SNe hunting, you must be prepared for hundreds of negative results – maybe even thousands, depending on how productive you are. I visually observed four fields every clear and partially clear night for over 20 years without any luck! Generally people get a bit more excited when a Nova is discovered than a Supernova (unless it’s really bright) for a number of reasons. More observers get to see it for one thing, and depending on type a Nova can stick around for years and can also reach very bright magnitudes. Professionals also get excited as there is a lot to study in a Nova (shell, dust, WD mass, secondary, accretion rates, possible disc reforming after event etc.) Novae also seem to be rarer than SNe, but this just might be that more people are looking for the latter (or Tom bags them all). Guy and I are convinced that many Novae go unobserved every year, simply because not enough people are looking for them.If you would like more information on this, contact me off list and we can talk further.Gary