Estimating the time of first light of SN 2014J in M82 from MicroObservatory pre-discovery images

Pre- and post-discovery CCD images of M82 acquired by one of the telescopes of the MicroObservatory robotic telescope network are used to construct the early unfiltered lightcurve of the Type Ia supernova 2014J. Maximum light is estimated to have occurred at a peak apparent magnitude of 10.59 on 2014 February 02.81 UT (JD 2456691.31). At a distance of ~3.5 Mpc, this equates to an absolute magnitude of -17.57 and suggests that the unfiltered host galaxy extinction at the location of the SN is of the order of ~1.7 magnitudes. Based on a simple expanding fireball model, the time of first light is estimated to be 2014 January 14.47 UT (JD 2456671.97) giving a rise time to maximum light of 19.34 days. [continued…]

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